After a summer transfer window that was dominated by reports of a restricted transfer budget, Arsenal and Unai Emery made a serious impression with several impressive acquisitions to bolster the Gunners’ ranks ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
Signings such as David Luiz and Kieran Tierney will add pace, muscle and leadership qualities to the club’s backline, but in the final third, Arsenal have acquired two players who have stolen the headlines with their impressive performances to date.
Club-record £72m signing Nicolas Pepe arrived from Lille with a fearsome reputation as a goalscorer with electric pace, and after dribbling past Virgil Van Dijk and making an impact in the club’s opening fixtures of 2019/20, there is no doubt that this could be a player with the potential to give Arsenal a cutting edge from the wide areas.
Yet whilst Pepe could make a huge impact for the Gunners, it is Dani Ceballos, who put in a man of the match performance on debut against Burnley, who could be one of the club’s most shrewd acquisitions, especially given the ongoing absence of Mesut Ozil.
After arriving on loan from Real Madrid, Arsenal fans would’ve been understandably sceptical of yet another La Liga prospect arriving on a temporary basis at the club, such as Denis Suarez from Barcelona in 2018/19, but Ceballos is displaying the flair and authority in central midfield that has seen him make senior appearances for the Spanish national side.
At just 23 years of age, Ceballos unquestionably has the best years of his career ahead of him, but the Spaniard is showing glimpses of the form that attracted Arsenal’s interest in bringing him to The Emirates from the Bernabeu.
Whilst Pepe’s arrival at a club-record fee may have understandably excited Arsenal’s fanbase to a greater degree, Ceballos is quietly going about his business in north London, making a case to be a weekly starter for Emery in the 2019/20 Premier League season.
If these two players are able to combine alongside the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, then Arsenal are potentially in possession of four players who, barring injury, could propel the club to domestic and European success, but there is no doubt that Ceballos could, in fact, play a leading yet unassuming role in Arsenal’s starting XI.