Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal are yet to make a decision on Dani Ceballos’ future, with the midfielder’s season-long loan agreement running down.
The Gunners acquired a talented playmaker from La Liga giants Real Madrid during the summer of 2019.
Ceballos was considered to be quite a coup, having previously starred for Real Betis before moving to Santiago Bernabeu.
A bright start to his time in England suggested that the 23-year-old would be a welcome permanent addition at Emirates Stadium.
Struggles for form and fitness then saw him drop out of the side between early November and late January, with a change in the dugout made during that period.
Arteta is now calling the shots in north London and has welcomed Ceballos back into the fold.
He has been catching the eye again with his creativity in the middle of the park, but no call has been made to those in Madrid.
“We haven’t had any discussions about it (making his move permanent),” Arteta told reporters ahead of a Premier League outing against West Ham on Saturday.
The Gunners boss was also questioned on the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang contract saga which is becoming an unwelcome distraction.
The Gabonese striker is yet to commit to an extension beyond 2021, but Arsenal are still hoping to get an agreement tied up.
Arteta added: “We will have to do that before the end of the season. I want to keep him in any circumstances.”
If Aubameyang were to move on then cover would be required, with Gent star Jonathan David identified as a possible target, but Arteta admits he still has no idea what his budget will be.
He said: “It’s very difficult but I like everything planned. I have very clear ideas of what I want to do but we don’t know what the scenario will be (financially).”
Qualification for the 2020-21 Champions League would significantly aid Arsenal’s cause when it comes to getting reinforcements on board.
They are sat 10th in the Premier League table at present, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, but could move up the table should they win their derby date with the Hammers.
Quizzed on an ongoing top-four challenge, Arteta said: “Beat West Ham on Saturday and we are closer. A few weeks ago it looked impossible but if we beat West Ham it will be more possible.”
The Gunners will be without Lucas Torreira when they face the Hammers, after seeing the Uruguayan midfielder fracture his ankle in an FA Cup win over Portsmouth, but Arteta is not looking for any excuses.
The Spaniard added: “It’s part of football, we have to adapt. It happens to other teams, we cannot cry about it.”