Dani Ceballos has reiterated his desire to be successful at Real Madrid after his loan spell at Arsenal.

Ceballos is on a season-long loan at the Premier League club but is contracted with Madrid until 2023.

However, the nine-time Spain international is still eager to succeed with the LaLiga giants, having arrived from Real Betis three years ago.

"I am a Real Madrid player … and any player in the world would like to play for Real Madrid," Ceballos told TVE on Wednesday.

"I have a contract with them for three more years and they are the ideal team to succeed."

Ceballos is preparing for a return to Premier League action, with top-flight clubs in England returning to training this week.

The 23-year-old revealed Arsenal players had returned no positive tests for coronavirus.

"We passed the tests and the truth is that the whole team has tested negative," Ceballos said.

Dani Ceballos defended Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, telling the Welshman's critics to watch the 2018 Champions League final if they no longer trust him.

Bale has continued to be linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, with Premier League side Newcastle United reportedly interested if they get taken over.

While Ceballos – on loan at Arsenal from Madrid – feels Bale would suit the Premier League, he reminded critics of the 30-year-old's exploits in the 2018 Champions League final.

Bale came off the bench to score a double, including a stunning overhead kick, in Madrid's 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev.

"It is a league that would be quite good for him, but he is a fundamental player for Madrid," Ceballos told Deportes Cuatro on Wednesday.

"Let us not forget everything he has given the club. Whoever does not trust him, put on the Champions League final.

"He has given enough to the club."

Bale has won four Champions League titles and a LaLiga crown among numerous other honours since joining Madrid from Tottenham in 2013.

Dani Ceballos is still hopeful of being successful at Real Madrid despite his loan spell at Arsenal.

Ceballos, 23, joined the Premier League side on a season-long loan in July, and he made 24 appearances before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The nine-time Spain international is contracted at Madrid until 2023 and he is eager to take his chance with the LaLiga giants.

"I am happy and I have a contract with Real Madrid," Ceballos told Deportes Cuatro on Wednesday.

"I am 23 years old, I have not passed the rice. Now I feel much more a player and I am prepared for any challenge that comes my way."

Ceballos joined Madrid from Real Betis for a reported €18million in July 2017.

Dani Ceballos recognises he faces an uncertain future at Arsenal and wants to "be important for my new team".

Spain midfielder Ceballos is on a season-long loan at the Gunners from Real Madrid, a deal which is due to expire on June 30.

With nearly all of European football on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen when or even if the season will be finished and what the situation is for players like Ceballos if the campaign heads into July.

Ceballos has had a hit-and-miss time at Arsenal, missing chunks of the season due to injury, but had worked his way into Mikel Arteta's plans before the Premier League ground to a halt.

And the 23-year-old is unsure how things will pan out.

"I finish my contract on June 30 but I would have to [continue to] play for Arsenal [when football returns]. I don't know how [that would work with his loan technically having finished]," he told El Chiringuito de Jugones.

"It would be irresponsible from my side to talk about my future. The most important thing will be to be important for my new team. 

"I came to Arsenal to be an important player but in the last month that all disappeared [due to coronavirus stopping football]."

In January, it was reported Valencia were interested in taking over Ceballos' loan, while he has also been linked with Sevilla.

However, the latter move is not one that particularly appeals given he used to play for Sevilla's fierce rivals Real Betis.

"I knew about Valencia's interest in having my services. There was also talk of Sevilla and Betis," he added.

"When they connect you with these teams it is for a reason. I am very Betis and it would be difficult for me to play for Sevilla. 

"I would only play for Betis, it is my team and the one that gave me the opportunity to be a footballer. I did not get to speak with Julen Lopetegui to sign for Sevilla."

Barcelona seemingly continue to make progress in their pursuit of Lautaro Martinez, while Real Madrid reportedly have seven transfer priorities.

After impressing at Inter, Martinez has been linked with a move away, with Barcelona appearing to be leading the chase for the forward.

Meanwhile, Barcelona's rivals Madrid have priorities of their own.

 

TOP STORY – INTER READY TO ACCEPT PLAYERS FROM BARCELONA IN MARTINEZ DEAL

Barcelona want to make their move for Martinez cheaper by offering several players and Inter view this option positively, according to the cover of Sport.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games in all competitions for Inter this season.

Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich, and Ousmane Dembele are among the Barcelona players to have been linked with moves away.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid have seven major questions to answer, according to Marca, which says the LaLiga club must sign a goalscorer, extend Luka Modric's contract, bring Martin Odegaard back from loan, decide on the future of Achraf Hakimi, sign Donny van de Beek, decide between Alphonse Areola or Andriy Lunin as second goalkeeper and loan out or sell Dani Ceballos.

- Will Jadon Sancho leave Borussia Dortmund? The Mirror reports Manchester United are increasingly confident of landing Sancho during the next transfer window. The Sun, however, says Dortmund may be changing their plans with the attacker due to the coronavirus pandemic.

- Barcelona may want to sell Samuel Umtiti, but it is shaping to be difficult. AS says the club are aware selling the France defender is likely to be tough due to his injury problems.

- With Martinez potentially leaving, Inter are lining up replacements. Sport claims Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud would be one of their signings, while they are also targeting Atalanta's Duvan Zapata.

- On loan at Monaco from Chelsea, Tiemoue Bakayoko may see his future elsewhere. Calciomercato reports the 25-year-old is keen to return to Milan, where he was on loan in 2018-19. It also reports Milan are targeting Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen.

- There could be other departures at Stamford Bridge. According to The Sun, Chelsea are ready to sell Emerson Palmieri and Victor Moses to raise around £30million with the duo linked to Juventus and Inter respectively.

Dani Ceballos believes he would have risked becoming an Anfield misfit if he had chosen to join Liverpool rather than Arsenal.

The Spain midfielder swapped Real Madrid for the Gunners in a season-long loan deal last July, but only after weighing up the idea of playing for Jurgen Klopp's Champions League winners.

Ceballos reached the conclusion that his style of play would not have been the ideal fit at Liverpool, accepting Unai Emery's invitation to head to London instead.

"I was proud to have a club like Liverpool after me, but I chose Arsenal because of Unai Emery and how he was with me," Ceballos told Marca.

"Klopp is a great coach but you have to look at the playing philosophy of each team. Right now players of my philosophy of play would not fit in the best possible way in a team like Liverpool."

Liverpool's hard-grafting midfielders have helped the Reds pull 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League, and 42 points ahead of Arsenal, who are toiling in 10th place.

Ceballos endured a long spell out of the Arsenal team because of a hamstring injury and the attack-minded 23-year-old admitted he may have played too often in his early months at the club.

He thinks he suffered the blow "because of an excess of matches", explaining: "I'd played 17 games in two months; I was the only player that had played all these games."

Ceballos had told Emery he wanted to be involved in every fixture, but he looks back now and says: "Sometimes you have to learn from mistakes. I struggled with the injury, but you learn from everything."

He was powerless to prevent Emery losing his job in November, but says successor Mikel Arteta "is going to be a great coach" and possesses the qualities that "Arsenal need right now".

Asked about the change of coach, Ceballos looked back on the turbulent period at Arsenal and said: "I'm f***** on my part because I'd never been injured and annoyingly, I got injured at a time when the team started to unravel a bit.

"I was watching the Arsenal games and I saw that we were struggling, that we weren't winning and that we'd entered a dynamic where we were finding it tough to get points.

"I'm powerless and angry that I wasn't able to have helped the boss [Emery] and repaid everything he'd done for me."

Mikel Arteta described his confidence in Arsenal signing new players this month as "50-50", but he appears confident Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not about to leave the club.

Calum Chambers has suffered a serious injury, while Arsenal will now also be without David Luiz through suspension after a red card at Chelsea, leaving Arteta short on defenders.

The Gunners have been linked with Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykola Matvienko and Paris Saint-Germain's Layvin Kurzawa, although Arteta would not comment on specific names ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Bournemouth.

The head coach acknowledged Arsenal have been looking at defenders, but he was unsure if there would be any January arrivals.

"I'm not going to be discussing any transfer links publicly," he told a news conference. "It's something that we are trying to do internally and, when we have news, we will communicate with you guys.

"We've been looking at different positions. Obviously, since I joined, we lost Calum and we had other circumstances and injuries in those positions, so it's true that, at the back, we've been short.

"But there are other positions as well, depending on what happens in the market, that we might need to assess.

"At the moment, I am 50-50, because this transfer window is very, very complicated. I only want to bring somebody in if I'm really convinced that he can really improve the level that we have."

One move Arteta is keen not to see go through, though, both this month and beyond, is Aubameyang to Barcelona, amid reported interest from the LaLiga giants.

Suggestions in the Spanish media this week said Aubameyang was open to the transfer, but that is not Arteta's understanding.

"As far as I know, a week ago, after a game at home, we were discussing that he said he was so happy," Arteta said.

"He didn't agree with the things that were written in the media and [said] he has his future here. That's what I understand at the moment."

Dani Ceballos' future appears less clear, the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder having been linked with a return to LaLiga after struggling to establish himself at Emirates Stadium and contending with injury.

"I had a conversation with Dani," Arteta said. "When I joined the club, he wasn't here, he was in Madrid because he was doing his rehab - for over a month - in Madrid with the team that owns him.

"And then, when I came here, he was doing his rehab and, by the first two or three weeks, he was getting back to fitness and I haven't seen much of him because he's only trained with us for a week or 10 days.

"So it's very early to assess what I can or cannot do with him. I heard about all those things but I have nothing to comment.

"He needs to get back to fitness and fight for his place. After that, we will make the selection that I think is fair with what I see on the pitch."

Have Tottenham finally found an alternative to Harry Kane?

According to reports, Spurs are in talks to sign Real Sociedad's Willian Jose with just over a week to go until the transfer window closes.

But it could take in excess of £50million to finally end their search for a second out-and-out striker.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS TO DIG DEEP FOR SOCIEDAD STRIKER

Krzysztof Piatek, Islam Slimani and Fernando Llorente have all been linked but Tottenham have now set their sights on 28-year-old Willian Jose, reports the Guardian.

The Brazilian was left out of his side's Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol on Wednesday and could now be headed for north London.

Talks are underway, the Guardian states, although Spurs could be forced to contemplate meeting Willian Jose's €70million (£59m) release clause as Sociedad seek adequate compensation.

The one-time Real Madrid man has scored eight LaLiga goals this term after reaching double figures in each of the previous three seasons.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dani Ceballos has asked Real Madrid to terminate his Arsenal loan and find him a move elsewhere, according to Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

- The Gunners are set to suffer another blow as Ligue 1 outfit Lyon prepare to confirm the €25million signing of rumoured Atletico Madrid target Bruno Guimaraes, reports L'Equipe.

- Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will allow Philippe Coutinho to return to Barcelona at the end of his loan spell if, as desired, the Bundesliga giants land Leroy Sane and Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, reports Bild.

- After sealing a deal for Reinier Jesus, Madrid could return to raid Flamengo for 19-year-old forward Lincoln, says Mundo Deportivo.

- Leicester City plan to bolster their Champions League ambitions by splashing £15million on Southampton centre-back Jannik Vestergaard, according to The Sun.

- Serie A side Milan have submitted an 18-month loan offer for Manchester City-linked Florentino Luis, claims CalcioMercato. The 20-year-old defensive midfielder plays for Benfica.

Mikel Arteta insists it must be the aim of everybody at Arsenal to "be the best", and he is not afraid to confront his players to get more out of them.

With Arsenal having been outplayed by Championship side Leeds United in the first half of Monday's FA Cup meeting, Alexandre Lacazette claimed Arteta shouted at his squad during the interval.

Arteta's anger paid dividends, with a much-improved performance following after the restart as Reiss Nelson's goal secured a 1-0 win and a place in the fourth round.

The former Manchester City assistant acknowledged he is still learning about Arsenal's squad – and they are still getting to know him – but is adamant he will fight for the Gunners to be the best they can possibly be.

"Probably they've seen a different reaction from me," Arteta told a news conference when asked about his reaction at half-time in the Leeds match.

"It's a process both ways. Probably a few were a bit surprised but I was surprised too, with the first half. We have to react naturally depending on the situation and the context.

"I love winning. I can only work to win and this is what this club deserves. I want to be the best. I want excellence from all of my players and everyone in the organisation so I will fight for that. If we don't reach it's because we're not good enough, it's okay, but we have to try at least with that aim."

Arteta has won two of his four matches in charge so far, with Arsenal – who have let young midfielder Emile Smith Rowe join Huddersfield Town on loan – facing Crystal Palace on Saturday, and one player that has stood out for the Spaniard has been defender David Luiz.

"He's a player that has won more trophies than anyone else in the dressing room and I wanted to use that in a very powerful way," Arteta said.

"I wanted him to step up, put all of the qualities – his personality and experiences – towards the team, and he's made a big step forward. I'm very pleased with him.

"The games he has played under me so far has been terrific. His attitude in training, the way he communicates with his team-mates, has been superb so I'm delighted with him."

Dani Ceballos is also nearing a return to fitness following a lengthy injury absence, and Arteta is looking forward to having the Real Madrid loanee available.

"I know him well from Spain, I've watched him many times. He's a player that can fit our style, now he needs to make things difficult for me in my selection," Arteta added.

"I think now he's ready to step in. I like him more when he's closer to the box, rather than coming deep to collect the ball. He's a very creative player, a player who can cause problems in the final third, always wants the ball, has a big personality, I like him."

Sead Kolasinac is facing several weeks on the sidelines after Arsenal confirmed he suffered ankle ligament damage against Manchester City.

Kolasinac hobbled off in the first half of his side's 3-0 defeat to City last weekend.

In an injury update on their official website on Friday, Arsenal revealed the 26-year-old defender is "aiming to return to full training in January".

Arsenal are already without fellow left-back Kieran Tierney until March after the Scotland international underwent surgery on his dislocated shoulder earlier this week.

And in a further blow for the Gunners ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with Everton, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Mesut Ozil are all fitness doubts.

Bellerin (hamstring) and Holding (knee) played no part in the defeat to City, while Ozil injured his right foot prior to being withdrawn in the second half.

Dani Ceballos is aiming to return to training next week after missing Arsenal's last six Premier League games, while Granit Xhaka is available for selection after recovering from the concussion he sustained against West Ham.

Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Goodison Park, seven points adrift of the top four.

Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos is facing another month on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury.

The Spain playmaker sustained the problem during the 1-1 Europa League draw at Vitoria SC at the start of this month.

Head coach Unai Emery initially referred to that setback as a "small injury" but, in a short injury update posted on their official website ahead of Saturday's Premier League home match against Southampton, Arsenal confirmed damage to Ceballos' left hamstring means he is aiming to return to full training in mid-December.

The 23-year-old has made 17 appearances in all competitions since moving to Emirates Stadium on a season-long loan from Real Madrid

Emery will assess Sead Kolasinac before the Southampton game after the left-back returned to club duty with a tight left hamstring.

Bosnia-Herzegovina international Kolasinac completed 90 minutes of his country's 3-0 defeat to Italy last Friday but sat out the subsequent win over Liechtenstein by the same scoreline.

Emery finds himself under pressure following a run of four winless matches in the Premier League.

Dani Ceballos will miss Arsenal's trip to Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, the club have confirmed.

The midfielder suffered a hamstring injury against Vitoria SC in Wednesday's Europa League draw, although coach Unai Emery was optimistic it was only a "small" issue.

The problem will keep Ceballos out against Leicester, but Arsenal will continue to assess his fitness.

Ceballos has also been left out of the Spain squad for the upcoming international break which follows the Leicester match.

Emery will have a decision to make in the centre of midfield, with Ceballos' absence potentially opening the door for Granit Xhaka's return.

Xhaka has not played since his angry confrontation with supporters when he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month, the Gunners having seen a 2-0 lead wiped out at Emirates Stadium.

The Switzerland international subsequently explained his actions, citing death threats made against his family on social media, but was later stripped of the Arsenal captaincy.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery says Dani Ceballos has what looks like a "small" hamstring injury sustained in the Europa League draw with Vitoria SC.

The midfielder initially pulled up early in the second half of the 1-1 result in Guimaraes and was replaced by Matteo Guendouzi 54 minutes in.

The Real Madrid loanee appears likely to miss at least Saturday's Premier League trip to Leicester City, although Emery says he will have further tests on Thursday.

"We are going to wait for the analysis tomorrow but, at the beginning, I think it’s a small injury," Emery told a news conference.

Arsenal had looked set to claim a win that would have guaranteed their place in the next round when Shkodran Mustafi headed in Nicolas Pepe's free-kick in the 80th minute.

However, Bruno Duarte equalised in injury time and the Gunners came close to a defeat in the closing moments, with Mustafi deflecting a cross onto the post and Rochinha sending a volley narrowly wide.

Emery was happy with his players' efforts in torrential rain, even though Mustafi's header was Arsenal's only shot on target.

"The players worked and tried and we were very close to winning. In the last minute, they pushed a lot and they scored," he said to BT Sport.

"The objective is to be first in the group and we are. At the end of the match, we're thinking about Saturday and Leicester.

"We tried [to score] but also they are a very competitive team. We did better defensively. Offensively, this team are very organised and it's not easy to have a lot of chances. It's not good because we want to win but we are first, and this is our target."

Mustafi felt the Gunners could have defended better to prevent Vitoria equalising but the centre-back is content to have taken a point that moves them closer to reaching the next round.

"I would love to score in the 90th minute. When you score a goal and you still have to play against a team like today, they threw everything up front, sometimes it's not organised any more and they throw a lot of bodies into the box and they keep crossing," he said.

"I think we could have dealt with [the danger] a little bit earlier, instead of letting them cross again. In the end, you have to accept it and move forward and take the positive things.

"You have to say they are a good side, they're in the Europa League for a reason, they're quite compact. We played today with a back three and we needed some time to get the rhythm in. In the first half, we didn't do it as we wanted; the second half was better, better rhythm, better passing.

"We just need to stay calm. Everyone wants to show and give everything and sometimes, when you're over-motivated, it's difficult to deal with that. At the end of the day, we need to stay calm, play our football, believe in ourselves and then in the final third try and do it a little more intelligently, with a little more accuracy in our final pass."

Arsenal twice squandered the lead as they were dumped out of the EFL Cup by Liverpool on penalties after a remarkable 5-5 draw at Anfield.

Under-pressure Gunners boss Unai Emery needed a positive result to lift the gloom around Arsenal after they let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Crystal Palace, but Jurgen Klopp's irrepressible young Reds prevailed.

Shkodran Mustafi's own goal and James Milner's penalty bookended a Lucas Torreira strike and Gabriel Martinelli's double in a first half characterised by defensive errors and gung-ho attacking.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles extended Arsenal's 3-2 interval lead before strikes from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi levelled the contest, only for Joe Willock to put Arsenal back in front with a wonderful solo effort 20 minutes from time.

But Origi penetrated Arsenal's porous defence again to take the game to penalties, and Dani Ceballos had his spot-kick saved as Liverpool clinched a place in the quarter-finals at the expense of their beleaguered visitors.

Juventus are set to have money to splash at the end of the season.

Eight-time reigning Serie A champions Juve are repeating the rewards of their domestic dominance.

And it could see some of Europe's elite join Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin.

 

TOP STORY - JUVENTUS REACH FOR THE STARS

Juventus are eyeing a blockbuster signing, with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Paul Pogba the targets, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Italian champions Juve are reportedly set to announce an increase of capital by €300million as they establish their position among Europe's elite clubs.

PSG's superstar pair Mbappe and Neymar fit the profile of a future eye-catching signing, as well as Manchester United's former Juve midfielder Pogba, Gazzetta says.

The report also mentions Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix and Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester Evening News reports Manchester United are confident about signing James Maddison from Leicester City. After splashing out a world-record fee for a defender to lure Harry Maguire from Leicester, United are said to have their eyes on another Foxes star as they look to add quality in the attacking third.

Real Madrid are considering a move for AC Milan full-back David Calabria, according to Fichajes.net. The alternatives would be RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann and Youcef Atal from Nice as Madrid reportedly look to replace Alvaro Odriozola.

West Ham and Wolves are eyeing January moves for Milan star Suso, says The Sun. The former Liverpool attacker was wanted by Roma during the previous window.

- Soccer Link says Paris Saint-Germain are monitoring Chelsea defender Tariq Lamptey and plan to sign him at the end of the season. The 19-year-old's contract expires at the end of the campaign.

Arsenal will have to spend £30.1million (€35m) if they want to make Dani Ceballos' loan deal from Real Madrid permanent, according to El Desmarque.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich rejected an offer from a Middle East-based consortium to buy the Premier League club, The Daily Telegraph reports.

- The Guardian says Manchester City are stepping up their pursuit to sign in-demand Napoli star Fabian Ruiz. Fabian is also being targeted by Barcelona and Madrid.

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