Jon Toral is a 20-year-old midfielder who currently plays for Championship side Brentford, on loan from Arsenal.
He hit the headlines earlier this season, scoring a hat trick against Blackpool in a 4-0 win for his side. He plays centrally, and in a more advanced role behind the striker or strikers, and can also play on either wing if needed.
Toral started off at Barcelona in their famous La Masia academy, before moving to Arsenal in 2011 along with Hector Bellerin for a fee of £300,000.
However, injuries have followed him around ever since he joined the Gunners, having four knee operations between 16 and 18. Last season was his first injury free season since arriving in England, playing 24 times for the Arsenal Under-21s across all competitions, scoring seven goals.
Arsene Wenger has allowed Toral to continue his development, sending him out on loan to Championship side Brentford, somewhere that Wojciech Szczesny had a fruitful loan spell at. He has featured 29 times for the Bees this year, scoring six, getting a treble against Blackpool as well as goals against Bolton Wanderers, Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest.
Toral has however only completed 90 minutes twice this season, with his first league start not coming until November.
This season’s breakout star for Arsenal has been his so called “footballing brother” Hector Bellerin. He had a loan spell at Watford last season, in a similar scenario to the one Toral currently finds himself in.
That could well mean we may see him in the Arsenal first team next season, although there are a lot of talented players in his position that he must get past first. There’s no doubt that he has talent, but it may be a while before it is seen as part of Arsenal’s midfield.
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