Dani Ceballos claims last season’s Arsenal team were ‘almost dead’ before Mikel Arteta’s arrival, but the new manager turned things around for them and is the ‘soul of the club’.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Dani Ceballos after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on September 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Will Oliver - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Dani Ceballos after scoring his team’s second goal on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Will Oliver – Pool/Getty Images)

When Dani Ceballos joined Arsenal on loan in the summer of 2019, he probably didn’t expect to play under three managers in his first season and then come back for a second all the same.

It’s been a bit of a strange ride for the Real Madrid loanee so far, but he believes things are heading in the right direction. Despite Unai Emery bringing him in, Ceballos claims Arsenal were ‘almost dead’ under Emery and Ljungberg before Mikel Arteta arrived.

“The team was almost dead – but after Arteta’s arrival we won the FA Cup and the Community Shield,” Ceballos said. “It’s not even a year since he arrived and he has given a radical change to the club.

“He’s the soul of the club and he’s lucky that the players trust him 100 percent. Arsenal need him, in part because he takes the initiative most of the time.”

Fortunately for the 24-year-old, the changes in manager didn’t hold Ceballos back from getting game time on the pitch. He started regularly under Emery and he’s still playing every week with Arteta in charge.

It’s hard to say how much that will change with Thomas Partey joining the club. Partey took Ceballos’ place at Old Trafford, and again in the clash with Aston Villa earlier this month, but his injury in the latter match forced him out of the team.

The injury gave Ceballos another chance to nail down a starting spot, and he needs to make the most of it in the next game or so. There are only a couple of spots in the side right now, so the Spaniard needs to ensure he’s the best option alongside Partey.