Ceballos, Saliba sign as Arsenal beat rivals to double swoop

Joe Williams
Dani Ceballos Arsenal

Arsenal completed a long-awaited double signing on Thursday as they beat rival clubs to capture both Dani Ceballos and William Saliba.

Ceballos joins on a season-long loan from Real Madrid while Saliba has signed from St Etienne on a long-term contract but will return to the Ligue 1 outfit for the forthcoming campaign, meaning the pair are likely to never play together at the Emirates Stadium.

Spain international midfielder Ceballos revealed the prospect of working under Unai Emery was the “turning point” in his decision to join the Gunners over other offers on the table.

The 22-year-old is highly-regarded at the Bernabeu and made 23 LaLiga appearances last year.

But Ceballos, who has six senior caps and also helped Spain’s Under-21s to Euro 2019 success this summer, will now spend a year in England after agreeing to a temporary switch to Arsenal.

Other options, including from rival Premier League clubs, are believed to have been available but Ceballos insists the lure of playing for Emery made up his mind.

“The coach was the turning point in terms of me joining this massive club,” he told the club’s official website.

“He’s a Spanish coach and he knows me from my time at other clubs. I’m really happy to be able to help Arsenal achieve our objectives.

“I knew I had the confidence of the coach, which was very important for me from the start.

“I was aware of the responsibility that wearing this shirt entails and it was a tremendously proud moment when I decided to join Arsenal.

“He’s a very tactical coach and I think that’s going to really help me to perfect my positioning. I think we’re both going to try our best to make me a better player.”

The move had been expected but Emery threw a little doubt on the deal after Real’s Marco Asensio suffered a serious knee injury in a friendly win over the Gunners earlier in the week.

“We’re excited to see Dani join us,” Emery said on the announcement of the deal.

“He is a talented player with big technical ability, creativity and precision.”

Saliba, 18, has been a long-term target for Arsenal – who beat off reported late interest from rivals Tottenham to capture the promising France youth international for a reported fee of £27million.

Asked why he had opted for the red side of the north London divide, Saliba said: “Well, the history, the badge.

“Since I was little, I’ve been watching Arsenal play in the Champions League and so on, and there are a lot of French players who have come through here. So that really helped me to make my mind up.”

The pair join Gabriel Martinelli in signing for the Europa League finalists this summer, the 18-year-old striker having joined from Ituano earlier in July.

Ceballos becomes Arsenal’s second signing of the summer, following 18-year-old striker Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano.

Arsenal are also likely to confirm the capture of St Etienne defender William Saliba, also 18, in the coming days – although it is anticipated that he will be loaned back to the Ligue 1 outfit for the forthcoming season.

Ceballos tweeted soon after the announcement: “The decision has been made. This season I will be a gunner! I am anxious to start. Hello Arsenal. Here I am.”

The former Sevilla and Real Betis youngster will wear the number eight shirt during his time at Arsenal and could feature in Sunday’s Emirates Cup meeting with Lyon.