Aston Villa are preparing a January move for former Arsenal loanee and current Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, according to reports in Spain.
Ceballos joined Los Blancos from Real Betis back in 2017 and switched to the Gunners on loan in July 2019 before returning on a temporary deal again in September 2020. He made 77 appearances for the Premier League club, netting two goals before returning to Madrid.
The 27-year-old has made just two appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season after missing the opening four LaLiga matches with a hamstring injury. The midfielder was named on the bench for the previous four matches and has played a total of maybe 49 minutes of first-team football so far this season.
Last term Ceballos started 20 of the 46 games he featured in for the Spanish giants, notching one goal and nine assists across all competitions but is likely to fall further down the pecking order this term.
The arrival of teenage sensation Jude Bellingham this summer has also pushed Ceballos further down the pecking order at the Bernabeu, with Carlo Ancelotti also having the talent and experience of Luka Modric, Federico Valverde, Toni Kroos and Eduardo Camavinga to call upon in the middle of the park.
Ceballos’ current deal with Real Madrid runs until 2027 after putting pen to paper on an extension back in June. The Spaniard had been attracting interest from La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid but reportedly rejected an approach from Diego Simeone’s side earlier this year.
The Villans are looking for reinforcements in midfield despite already bringing in Youri Tielemans this summer but the former Leicester City star is struggling for game time as Emery prefers to stick with Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz in the middle of the pitch.
Villa willing to pay up in January
According to a report by Spanish outlet XCatalunya, Unai Emery is aware of Ceballos’ lack of game time at the Bernabeu and is keen to bring him back to the Premier League in the coming months.
The Villans are said to be “preparing an offer” for the midfielder and are willing to spend as much £15.6million to get a deal done, with the idea being to get Ceballos through the door in January in an effort to strengthen the squad for the second part of the season when their fixture calendar is set to ramp up.
The Premier League club are confident of getting a deal done despite Ceballos’ extension, given his reduced game time, and believe he could be convinced by a new challenge and return to the English top flight.
Emery is looking for reinforcements to continue Villa’s rise up the league table and keep them in the Europa Conference League after a disappointing start to a campaign, which has seen them lose their opening game against Legia Warsaw 3-2.
Villa are currently fifth in the Premier League table with five wins from their opening seven games and will be hoping to better their seventh-place finish last term that secured them a spot in the Europa Conference League for this year’s campaign.