Atletico Madrid may have been placed under a transfer ban, but that has not stopped the club from doing its due diligence and seeking out potential new arrivals. The injury to Augusto Fernandez, plus the ages of Gabi and Tiago (33 and 35 respectively), means Atletico may be interested in fortifying one particular area: central midfield.
AS reported Wednesday that Atleti in the near future are interested in signing Real Betis’ highly-rated youngster Dani Ceballos. The report also appeared in Catalan papers Mundo Deportivo and Sport. It said los rojiblancos had agreed a deal for Ceballos with los verdiblancos during the summer window, but manager Gus Poyet blocked it. However, Ceballos has started just one game this season - a 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad - and has appeared as a substitute on four other occasions for a grand total of 202 minutes.
The 20-year-old, once followed by Real Madrid, rose through the ranks at Betis and made 34 appearances in his first full LaLiga season in 2015-16, notching two assists. Ceballos is a versatile central midfielder who can also play on the left hand side (like Koke). He is a slick dribbler with good passing range and has shown a proclivity for winning the ball in defense. Ceballos also has 24 caps between Spain’s U-19 and U-21 sides, winning the U-19 European Championship in 2015.
It’s little wonder as to why Diego Simeone could be interested in the player. He would be the youngest central midfielder in the team and already he has qualities that complement Atletico’s current stable of central midfielders. In the meantime, Betis’ 2-1 win over Osasuna last Friday has stopped the bleeding somewhat, and Poyet remains in charge. If he continues to roam the Benito Villamarin sideline, it will be interesting to see how he employs Ceballos over the rest of the season. This is worth keeping an eye on.