Arsenal’s on-loan attacking midfielder Dani Ceballos has gone on record to reveal why he turned down the opportunity to sign for high-flying Liverpool in favour of the Emirates.
The 23-year-old departed the Spanish capital on a temporary basis in the summer in search of regular first-team football to enhance his chances of becoming a force for Spain ahead of Euro 2020.
Things began positively, with Ceballos providing two assists in a man of the match performance versus Burnley in the Gunners’ second match of the season.
The following week’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool put the brakes on his initial success, however, with the Reds’ pace of play creating a difficult environment for the Spaniard to excel in.
The eight-times capped Spain international had been briefly linked with a switch to Anfield in the summer, but instead wound up at the Emirates to link up with fellow countryman Unai Emery.
“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 the outlet.
“Right now, I wouldn’t fit in at Liverpool very well.
“Unai was key to me being at Arsenal. I went to play at a club like Arsenal because, apart from the fact that it’s a massive club, Unai practically came to my house to tell me that he loved me as a player, that he’s been in love with me since I played for Betis…
“The confidence of a coach is key to giving your best performance. Unai told me that I would be important with him at Arsenal and I didn’t have any doubts about going there.
“Klopp is a great coach but you have to look at the playing philosophy of each team. Right now, my style of play wouldn’t fit in the best possible way in a team like Liverpool. Still, being linked to the best teams just shows I am doing things right.”
When quizzed further on the specific aspects of his style of play that wouldn’t have suited Jurgen Klopp’s side, Ceballos added: “I’m a football player with a great vision for the game and I think in recent years I’ve improved my defending too. I work hard on the pitch and I have the quality to make that final pass.
“These days coaches want ‘complete’ players, whereas before it was all about having quality and attacking.
“Now, No.10s have virtually disappeared in football. You have to be more complete, quality has to be accompanied by the physical side.
“The most difficult thing in football is to have quality, the physical side can be improved with hard work and dedication day by day – I think the Premier League is going to give me many things that I didn’t have before.”