Rangers have today been linked with a move for Arsenal’s young Spanish midfielder Jon Toral, who is currently on loan at La Liga side Granada.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 21-year-old...
His Arsenal transfer was described as “immoral”
Toral made the move from Barcelona to Arsenal as a teenager. £300,000 was all it cost for the English Premier League side to persuade the Reus-born prodigy and team-mate Héctor Bellerín to swap Catalonia for North London. Former Barcelona President Sandro Rossell was furious at the deal, stating that if it wasn’t illegal then it was at least “immoral”.
Since then the two players have enjoyed contrasting fortunes. Bellerin made his full debut in September 2013, just over two years after the move and has become a vital cog in the Arsenal side. He’s even managed to win three caps for the Spanish national team. Meanwhile, Toral is still waiting for his Emirates bow. Currently, the midfielder is on loan at La Liga side Granada where he’s struggling for playing time, having featured only six times in all competitions since the summer switch.
Rangers are looking to convince the player that he’d be better off cancelling the loan deal with Granada six months early and completing the season at Ibrox instead.
He had successful spells at both Brentford and Birmingham
Despite his struggles in Spain this campaign, Toral is no dud, as demonstrated by his previous two loan spells in the English Championship.
As a 19-year-old he played the role of impact sub under Rangers boss Mark Warburton as Brentford pushed hard for promotion to the top flight, including netting a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Blackpool.
The following campaign he went back to the second tier with Birmingham City. This time he was an important first-team member, scoring eight league goals and being named Birmingham’s Player of the Year at the conclusion of the campaign. His form was so impressive that then Blues boss Gary Rowett said he fully expected Toral to challenge for a place in the Arsenal first-team this term. Alas, it’s not worked out that way so far.
In terms of the current Rangers players, he’s most similar to Jason Holt
While he can be a goalscoring threat, making penetrating runs from deep or firing from distance, Toral is someone who likes to follow the play around the park and is always available for a pass from a team-mate. He likes to help control the tempo of the game and works hard at pressing opponents when possession is lost.
As expected for a highly rated Spanish youngster, he’s a good technical player with a terrific range of passing.
A noticeable difference between him and Holt is that Toral has a bigger stature, both in terms of height and breadth, which enables him to both run with the ball and shoot with greater power.
He’s capable of scoring some stunning goals
Aside from being named Birmingham’s Player of the Year, Toral also took home the Goal of the Season gong at the end of season awards for a stunning volley against Ipswich. The sensational effort can be viewed in the video above or via this link. And while he’s struggled to get a look-in at Granada, in a rare start against Osasuna in the cup in November he netted the game’s only goal with a brilliant strike from 25 yards.
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