Mikel Arteta says he would be open to keeping Dani Ceballos at Arsenal but says the situation is not in the Gunners' hands.
The Spain international arrived on loan from Real Madrid last summer and is due to return to the Spanish capital at the end of the season.
Arsenal do not have an option to turn his move permanent and the expectation has been that Ceballos would only spend the one season in the Premier League before heading back to his homeland.
But Arteta has now raised the prospect of bringing the midfielder back to the Emirates at the end of his loan, if another deal with Madrid can be done.
“We are talking to the club,” said Arsenal’s head coach. “Obviously we don’t own the player, he’s not in our hands, so the clubs will need to have a communication and see what we can do.”
Having had to battle for his place in the starting XI after Arteta’s arrival in December, Ceballos has become an increasingly influential player for Arsenal under the Spaniard.
He has started seven of Arsenal’s last eight games in the Premier League and has formed an encouraging partnership alongside Granit Xhaka in the heart of the midfield.
“I’m really happy with him,” Arteta said ahead of Tuesday night's home game against Leicester. “The way he’s evolving and I love how much he likes to play football – the passion he puts into every training session, and in every game, you just have to see his celebrations.
“Whether he’s on the pitch or on the bench, the way he celebrates [shows] how much he puts into it. Again, I’m really happy with him, I think he’s evolving in the right way and he’s becoming a really important player for us.”
Meanwhile, Arteta says Arsenal would be ‘open’ to potentially swapping players during the forthcoming transfer window in a bid to land key targets.
With money expected to be limited due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as what looks set to be another season outside of the Champions League, Arteta is aware that transfer funds will be tight.
There have been suggestions that Arsenal could be willing to offer Alexandre Lacazette or Matteo Guendouzi as a sweetener for targets such as Thomas Partey at Atletico Madrid.
And although he wouldn't be drawn on any specific names, Arteta admits swap deals are likely once the window opens.
“We have to be open to different situations,” he said. “I think the market will give us the opportunity to do certain deals like this but at the moment I cannot comment on any of that.”