Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos claims he has not been in contact with Arsenal, Liverpool or Real Madrid, despite reports linking him with a January move to three of Europe's biggest clubs. The Spanish 19-year-old starlet recent committed his future to his boyhood club until 2020, attempting to put an end to such rumours.
The Mirror reported in September that both the Gunners and the Merseyside outfit were hoping to take advantage of the youngster's expiring contract to secure his services on the cheap during the January window, as he would have been eligible to leave on a free in a summer. However, despite these stories, and similar ones in Spain linking Real Madrid with a move for his signature, Ceballos opted to renew his contract at Betis.
The Under 21 Spanish international has explained the decision in an interview with Estadio Deportivo. When asked about the alleged interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Real Madrid, he said: "There was never any contact with another team.
"Being wanted or tracked by these kinds of teams is a sign that I am doing something good, but I want to make it clear that I have not been in contact with any of the teams that I was linked with. I just think about Betis. It is what I want."
The four-year deal will not completely end speculation about a move to a bigger club. The La Liga side put a £8.8m ($13.5m) release clause in the contract – which could rise to £11m next season – with thoughts of a future sale clearly in mind.
Ceballos admits a move is still a possibility.
"I have signed a four-year contract and I have great enthusiasm for being here. Whether it is for a season, two seasons or four, I want to give my best. I am focussed on this season, to help the team reach our target, which is to avoid relegation, and then we will think of bigger things. My goal today is to meet that target, finish this season and start the next. I don't look beyond that," he concluded.
His new £8.8m clause, nevertheless, would seem a bargain for a player who is considered one of the best talents to emerge from the Spanish in recent years, after he led the Under 19 national team to the European Championship last summer.