Dani Ceballos has admitted La Liga suits him better than the Premier League – and that gives Arsenal a problem with Real Madrid 'counting on' Martin Odegaard for next season.
The Gunners are keen to retain Odegaard with the midfielder having impressed since joining on loan in January, helping Mikel Arteta's side reach the Europa League semi-finals.
Ceballos is also on loan from Madrid, and says he has benefitted both physically and tactically from playing in the Premier League.
But the midfielder appears to see his future in Spain's top flight – and that could leave Arsenal light in midfield, with Madrid believed to be keen on taking Odegaard back to the Bernabeu.
As he approaches the end of his second season with the Gunners, Ceballos has told Onda Cero in his homeland that he has "grown above all physically but also with the tactical side of things".
"I'm learning a lot in the Premier but I think La Liga is better for my game," he added, in quotes cited by El Transistor.
The 24-year-old's admission gives Arsenal boss Arteta a potential headache ahead of the summer transfer window – especially given the latest report from AS claiming that Madrid are 'counting on' Odegaard for next season and have 'no intention' of letting him leave.
While Odegaard struggled for game time at the Bernabeu this season, the Spanish publication claims Zinedine Zidane has plans to involve him a lot more next term in rotation with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
Modric will turn 36 just weeks into next season, while Kross celebrated his 31st birthday in January, and both have suffered injury problems.
Odegaard is therefore seen as the future of Madrid's midfield, with next season looking set to be a breakthrough campaign for the 22-year-old.
The future of Ceballos is a different matter, with the Spain international having endured ups and downs since being brought to the Emirates under the charge of Arteta's predecessor Unai Emery.
According to Football London, the Gunners were not planning to pursue a permanent deal for Ceballos – but if both he and Odegaard were to head back to the Bernabeu, Arteta would suddenly be facing a shortage of options in his engine room.
Young No10 Emile Smith Rowe has impressed this season but is still just 20 years old, while Thomas Partey has had injury problems since his deadline day move from Atletico Madrid back in October.
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Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny are Arteta's other current midfield options, with Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira as they on loan at Hertha Berlin and Atletico respectively and appearing to have no future at the Emirates.
The Gunners have been linked the likes of Lyon star Houssem Aouar and Brighton's Yves Bissouma as they look to strengthen this summer.
And as Arsenal prepare to face Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday, Ceballos could be looking at the competition as a chance to end his Arsenal spell in style.
"We have not been at all consistent in the league to qualify to be in the top four as Arsenal's goal, so now we are looking to reach that final of the Europa League. Enjoy it and win it," Ceballos told Onda Cero .
Lifting the trophy would, of course, ensure a place in next season's Champions League, which would enhance Arsenal's chances of attracting top talent in all positions – so there's plenty at stake over the next eight days.
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