Arsenal’s very own Jon Toral had a cloudy start in England, setting out on loan at Brentford the 21-year-old has now found form in the Championship with Birmingham City.
Alongside Hector Bellerin, the Spaniard moved to Arsenal from Barcelona in 2011. However, four knee injuries later and he was unable to get a look in as many fans predicted big things for him in red and white.
His Barcelona-esc skill and ability has since made him arguably Birmingham’s best player in the play-off chasing squad this campaign. Now a regular starter, keeping new signing Diego Fabbrini out of the team, who the Blues actually paid substantial money for (highest paid transfer in four years), his future at Arsenal looks more and more promising by the day. Many Birmingham fans will want him to stay at the end of the season and finding another like him would be near impossible.
Not only has Toral’s ability to keep the ball at his feet and drift around defenders impressed the St. Andrews faithful so far, getting everyone on their feet when in on goal, but he has also scored an array of goals – seven in 29 appearances with three assists also to his name. A couple from his head, not to mention the rocket volley against Ipswich and the roulette strike against Hull last week, which stole the show.
Being 6″1, the attacker is very comfortable in the air. This means unlike many attacking midfielders, he is hard to shrug off the ball very easily. The Blues defence and wide men look to offload the ball to Toral time after time as they know an attack can be started, which allows space to be created for the likes of Jacques Maghoma and main striker Clayton Donaldson to run into.
Twitter: GOAL: BIRMINGHAM 1 – 0 HULL: TORAL 14′ pounces on some sloppy defending and gets a fortunate deflection https://t.co/05HCrquXc3 (@LiveGoalVids)
Blues’ top goalscorer so far this season has now settled into the face paced nature of Championship football, with the Premier League looking like an easy target for the youngster. Although his defensive side of the game does need a touch up, he certainly has everything else in his locker.
The question is, will Arsene Wenger take a punt on what reminds many as ‘a young Cesc Fabregas’? Toral certainly possesses talent to prove he is worthy of competing for a place in north London, but competing with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, it’s not going to be an easy ride for him. Manager Gary Rowett has already come out and said that he would be interested in a permanent deal. Blues will hope they can push for the play-offs before that can become a possibility.