REAL MADRID-OWNED Dani Ceballos has revealed that his decision to turn down a loan move to European champions Liverpool in favour of Arsenal was reached in part due to the style of play employed at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been in stellar form over the course of the past few seasons, winning the Champions League last term and now being on course to end a 30-year wait to be named Premier League champions, having narrowly lost out to Manchester City in 2018-19.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have been in a transitional period during the Reds’ revival, with Mikel Arteta the latest figure brought in to restore the club to its former glory after Unai Emery’s unsuccessful spell in charge following Arsene Wenger’s exit.
One could be forgiven for questioning Ceballos’s choice to pick the Emirates over Anfield, but the Spain international remains sure that he made the right decision.
“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. Right now, I wouldn’t fit in at Liverpool very well,” the 23-year-old explained in an interview with Marca.
“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.”
Asked to elaborate on his style, 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, number 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.”
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