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Arsenal must do everything to tie down Dani Ceballos to a permanent deal this summer

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arsenal must do everything to tie down dani ceballos to a permanent deal this summer

Nobody who followed Spain‘s progress at the 2017 Under 21 European Championships will have been surprised by Dani Ceballos’ masterly display at Wembley that helped Arsenal claim their fourth FA Cup in six years.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double in the final against Chelsea highlighted Arsenal’s need to agree a new contract with their top scorer, yet securing a deal for Ceballos – who spent last season on loan from Real Madrid – is surely just as important.

Since the restart, Ceballos has been a model of consistency in Mikel Arteta’s improving, though unpredictable, Arsenal team – just as he was in Poland three years ago.

Arsenal desperately need to secure the permanent future of Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos

Arsenal desperately need to secure the permanent future of Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos

Arsenal desperately need to secure the permanent future of Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos 

In a stellar Spain squad containing players like Saul Niguez, Marco Asensio and Marcos Llorente, Ceballos started the campaign on the bench but was so impressive when he forced his way into the team that he was named player of the tournament, even though Spain were beaten in the final by Germany. 

Two years later, Ceballos was at the heart of the Spanish team again as they went one better and clinched the title in Italy.

Wembley showed Ceballos at his best again after two difficult years in Madrid, where he moved for £16.2million from Real Betis thanks in part to those performances in Poland. 

Even though Ceballos said at Wembley that ‘Madrid are better than any club in the world’, it is difficult to envisage him finding a spot in their midfield while Zinedine Zidane is coach.

Ceballos was named player of the tournament at the 2017 Under 21 European Championships

Ceballos was named player of the tournament at the 2017 Under 21 European Championships

Ceballos was named player of the tournament at the 2017 Under 21 European Championships

Two years later, Ceballos (right) was at the heart of the Spanish team again as captain

Two years later, Ceballos (right) was at the heart of the Spanish team again as captain

Two years later, Ceballos (right) was at the heart of the Spanish team again as captain

They would go one better from the U17 tournament and would lift the Under 21 title with Spain

They would go one better from the U17 tournament and would lift the Under 21 title with Spain

They would go one better from the U17 tournament and would lift the Under 21 title with Spain

Sources in Spain indicate there is little future for Ceballos under Zidane, leaving the door open for Arsenal to try to seal the permanent signing this summer. Yet they are unlikely to be the only ones in the frame.

Valencia have shown an interest before while Betis could give Ceballos the chance to return to Seville, his home city, and the 23-year-old appears attracted by the idea. 

He said: ‘I’ve a lot of love for Betis, for everyone that works at the club. They know the love I have for them and we’ve been in contact all season. Betis means a lot to me.

‘We’ll see about my future. I’m not thinking about whether or not I can play for Real Madrid, Arsenal or another club.

Betis could give Ceballos the chance to return to Seville if things don't work out in Madrid

Betis could give Ceballos the chance to return to Seville if things don't work out in Madrid

Betis could give Ceballos the chance to return to Seville if things don’t work out in Madrid

The 23-year-old came through the ranks at Betis before securing a move to the Bernabeu

The 23-year-old came through the ranks at Betis before securing a move to the Bernabeu

The 23-year-old came through the ranks at Betis before securing a move to the Bernabeu

‘Now it’s time to disconnect. I have to be calm and think clearly with my family about the coming year.’

Where coaches previously struggled to find Ceballos’ best position, he has thrived in central midfield in Arteta’s 3-4-3 system. 

His struggles with injury in the early part of the season are behind him and since football resumed in June after the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, he has started every game except last month’s 2-1 win over Liverpool at Emirates Stadium. 

In total, Ceballos made 37 appearances in 2019-20 for the Gunners, scoring two goals and registering two assists.

Sources in Spain indicate there is little future for Ceballos (centre left) under Zidane at Real

Sources in Spain indicate there is little future for Ceballos (centre left) under Zidane at Real

Sources in Spain indicate there is little future for Ceballos (centre left) under Zidane at Real

‘I don’t see any chance for him at Madrid while Zidane is in charge,’ Spanish football expert Terry Gibson told Sportsmail. ‘But he was excellent at Betis after coming through the youth ranks there and you could see how talented he was.

‘He was also Spain’s best player in each of the last European Under 21 Championships but when he was in LaLiga, it was hard to pin him down to a single position.’

Gibson, the former Tottenham, Manchester United and Wimbledon striker, worked as a scout in Spain for Bolton during Sam Allardyce’s spell at the club and has been a regular pundit on UK coverage of LaLiga ever since. 

He has watched every LaLiga game stretching back to January for a scouting project he hopes will benefit English clubs.

Ceballos has thrived in central midfield in Arteta’s 3-4-3 system while on loan this season

Ceballos has thrived in central midfield in Arteta’s 3-4-3 system while on loan this season

Ceballos has thrived in central midfield in Arteta’s 3-4-3 system while on loan this season

The Spaniard played an integral role for Arsenal and everything should be done to keep him

The Spaniard played an integral role for Arsenal and everything should be done to keep him

The Spaniard played an integral role for Arsenal and everything should be done to keep him

‘Ceballos’ best performances in Spanish football were in the No 10 role so I’m interested to see whether he can be successful as an orthodox central midfielder,’ Gibson added.

Arsenal will hope that their FA Cup triumph, and guarantee of European football, will tip the balance in their favour in the race for Ceballos, who turns 24 on August 7. 

Because if he really is starting to fulfil the potential he showed on the continental stage three years ago, Arsenal must do everything they can to ensure he does so in north London.

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Can Lee Westwood and fiancee caddy Helen end his 25-year wait for first Major at US Open – after cancelling wedding?

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can lee westwood and fiancee caddy helen end his 25 year wait for first major at us open after cancelling wedding scaled

CAN Lee Westwood finally end his 25-year wait for a first Major title at the US Open with stunning fiancée Helen Storey caddying for him?

Well, it’s the least he could do after the couple had to cancel their wedding.

Can Westwood end his 25-year wait for a Major with fiancee Helen on the bag?

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Can Westwood end his 25-year wait for a Major with fiancee Helen on the bag?Credit: AP:Associated Press
The loved-up couple don't mind showing some affection on the course

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The loved-up couple don’t mind showing some affection on the courseCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Ryder Cup legend Westwood, 47, and fitness fanatic Helen were due to tie the knot at Ireland’s exclusive Adare Manor resort in August.

But coronavirus had other ideas and the loved-up couple have put their big day on hold for now.

The good news is that, after Westwood’s fantastic three-under 67 in the first round in New York, the pair could have something extra to celebrate when they finally do.

How amazing will it be should Westwood break his duck in the big ones with his other half on the bag.

Especially since the first time Helen caddied for him in 2018 she was scared to pick up divots – in case there was a worm in them.

Westwood says Helen is still learning about golf. And she still doesn’t like raking bunkers.

But what she knows better than anyone else is the six inches between his ears.

Helen became Westwood’s girlfriend when his divorce to Laurae Coltart after 16 years ended in a last-minute settlement that avoided a courtroom battle over his £50million fortune.

Westwood won in South Africa shortly after making Helen his caddie

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Westwood won in South Africa shortly after making Helen his caddieCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The engaged pair scrub up well too when not on the course

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The engaged pair scrub up well too when not on the courseCredit: Getty Images – Getty
LB US OPEN hardestholes2

The couple almost ended his barren run in last year’s Open at Royal Portrush before Westy finished tied fourth.

And the former world No1 said then: “Obviously I get on well with Helen. She doesn’t know too much about golf but she knows a lot about the way my mind works.

“So she keeps me in a good frame of mind and focusing on the right things at the right time. There’s more to the caddying than carrying and getting the wind direction.”

Helen began caddying for Westwood after he split with long-time bag man Billy Foster.

She doesn’t know too much about golf but she knows a lot about the way my mind works

Lee Westwood on fiancée Helen Storey

Shortly after, he ended a four-year winless drought with victory in the Nedbank Challenge.

Should Helen help Westwood to success again, then the Worksop-born superstar will supplant Jerry Barber as the oldest first-time Major champion.

Barber was 45 when he won the 1961 US PGA in a play-off.

Helen’s commitment to fitness has rubbed off on her fella and he burns hundreds of calories on the Peloton bike they share – as well as gruelling workouts.

Westwood looks in the shape of his life now and he told The Times of Helen’s impact, saying: “She helped me more than anybody. She is very cheery, very positive.”

Will she help him to his first Major crown?

Well that really would be a true fairytale of New York.

Patrick Reed does stunning hole-in-one on seventh at US Open which takes one bounce and sends fans wild

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Arsenal have £10m David Raya transfer bid ‘rejected’ by Brentford as Mikel Arteta looks to revamp goalkeeper department

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arsenal have 10m david raya transfer bid rejected by brentford as mikel arteta looks to revamp goalkeeper department scaled

ARSENAL have reportedly had a £10million transfer bid for David Raya rejected by Brentford.

The Spanish goalkeeper, 25, is wanted by the Gunners to fill the void left by Emi Martinez’s £20m move to Aston Villa.

Arenal have reportedly had a £10m bid for David Raya rejected

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Arenal have reportedly had a £10m bid for David Raya rejected Credit: Getty

That is despite the impending arrival of fellow stopper Runar Alex Runarsson from Dijon.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is attempting to revamp his goalkeeping department.

And the Telegraph claim they have stepped up their pursuit of Raya in recent days.



The Bees star is keen to test himself in the Premier League after missing out on promotion last season following his side’s defeat to Fulham in the play-off final.

Brentford insist Raya is not leaving this summer but today’s report states they would be more open to selling if they can take him back on loan for the campaign.

But that complicates things for Arsenal, who want him to go straight into their first-team squad.

Raya would compete with Bernd Leno for the No1 shirt.

He already has a strong rapport with Inaki Cana, the goalkeeping coach who joined from Brentford in December.

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Cana also knows Runarsson well after the duo worked together at Danish side FC Nordsjaelland

Matt Macey has moved to second-choice ‘keeper at the Emirates after Martinez’s exit.

But he has less than a year left on his contract and also wants to leave for regular action.

SPORTS GRAPHIC EXPENSIVE SIGNINGS ARSENAL10 SEP
19-year-old Folarin Balogun shows his goal scoring talents in under 18 game for Arsenal

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How Man Utd could line-up against Crystal Palace with van de Beek making debut but Solskjaer missing up to 11 crocks

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how man utd could line up against crystal palace with van de beek making debut but solskjaer missing up to 11 crocks

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER faces a sleepless night ahead of Manchester United’s season opener – with 11 players set to miss the clash.

The Red Devils play host to Crystal Palace for the 5.30pm kick-off on Saturday after their start was delayed due to last season’s Europa League run.

How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side could line up without the eleven doubts

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How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could line up without the eleven doubts

United only played their ill-fated semi-final defeat to Sevilla just under five weeks ago with their pre-season plans taking a monster hit.

With just one week of training under their belts, coupled with a bout of Nations League ties, United stars risk not being ready.

Centre-back Axel Tuanzebe is certain to miss the game at Old Trafford as he recovers from injury.

Mason Greenwood, too, looks unlikely to play after being told to train alone since his England fiasco.



The forward, 18, was sent home along with Phil Foden by the Three Lions after breaking Covid-19 restrictions by inviting two Icelandic girls into the squad hotel.

Elsewhere in the United squad, several other players have only arrived for training in recent days and are unlikely to be match-fit for Palace.

Bruno Fernandes only touched down in Carrington at the weekend.

Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Fred, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic only returned on Monday.

Manchester United's possible XI if the manager takes a fitness gamble

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Manchester United’s possible XI if the manager takes a fitness gamble

Aaron Wan-Bissaka also began his pre-season at the start of the week after a trip to Dubai caught the right-back on the wrong side of the Government’s quarantine guidelines.

Fellow defender Phil Jones is also a fitness doubt while Sergio Romero has not yet returned for training after being relegated to third-choice goalkeeper.

That could force Solskjaer into starting Daniel James and Jesse Lingard at Old Trafford.

Academy product Lingard, 27, could play ahead of Scott McTominay and new signing Donny van de Beek in the more advanced of the three central positions.

Wantaway full-back Diogo Dalot is in line to start with Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in defence.

Up front, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are set to be fit enough to start after the England forward skipped his country’s games – citing a lack of fitness.

Fans also eagerly await the decision between the posts with both David De Gea and Dean Henderson fit and available for selection.

Solskjaer will be desperate for improvement after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in their only pre-season friendly.

Mason Greenwood says, ‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ to play for Man Utd

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