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Toral "likely to leave Arsenal" - we speak to journalist about Rangers loanee

We spoke to Jack Pitt-Brooke about our new loan signing, Jon Toral.

Birmingham City v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Rangers have at last confirmed the loan signing of Jon Toral, and while we can see that he certainly has a decent pedigree, we decided to get some more in-depth information by speaking to Jack Pitt-Brooke, of The Independent.

Pitt-Brooke has interviewed Toral in the past, seen him play plenty of times and in general followed his career with interest. Here's what he thinks to the latest arrival at Ibrox.

GTBFO: Jon Toral seemed to be a great success in the lower leagues in England, but he hasn't quite been able to do it at Granada. Why do you think that is?

JPB: I think that Granada is quite a difficult club to go into at the moment. The Pozzos sold the club to a Chinese investor last summer and Pere Guardiola has been very heavily involved in signing players. Half their squad is on loan and while there's lots of talented players - like Toral's old Barcelona team-mate Sergi Samper - there's no real stability and it's difficult to settle. They're second bottom of La Liga with nine points from 17 games and it's not an easy place for someone who's never played senior football in Spain before.

GTBFO: You've spoken to the man himself before - were you impressed by his attitude?

JPB: I think he's got a good attitude. I spoke to him two years ago when he was at Brentford and it still felt like he was playing catch-up. He basically didn't play any football between 16 and 18 because he had four knee operations and so he's not as well developed as he should be by now. (Compare him with his mate Hector Bellerin who is now a guaranteed first-teamer). But obviously he is working hard and still trying to find out what he's best at.

GTBFO: What would you say his best attributes are as a player, and his best position?

JPB: He has the obvious technical ability, balance and awareness that you'd expect from a Barcelona academy product. Over there he was seen as being physical and box-to-box whereas over here he's not as strong as most of the midfielders he's playing against, so wouldn't really get used as an 8. I'm sure he'd love to play as a 10, and sometimes at Birmingham he did that, but he is the sort of player who will often get stuck out wide by a manager who thinks he's not strong enough to play him in the middle. It would be a big vote of confidence for Warburton to play him at 8 or 10 but physically I think he'd have to develop a lot more to do that.

GTBFO: There are some conflicting reports on whether his contract ends at the end of this season or next season. Have you any idea?

JPB: I don't know for certain but I would guess that it ends this year, but that Arsenal can trigger an option when they see fit to extend it. That's how it has been for the last few years. Even if he does well at Rangers I'm sure Arsenal will trigger it, just so they can get a fee if for nothing else.

GTBFO: There's a suggestion that Rangers might be exploring the long shot of making this permanent at some point. Do you see any possibility of that, perhaps taking advantage of the fact that we can sign players from England much more cheaply than other English clubs?

JPB: I think it's fairly unlikely Toral will become a first-teamer at Arsenal now, he's 22 next month and not got anywhere near the team there yet. Equally with his education (and ability) I'm sure there will be teams from all over Europe so depends where he wants to play. I don't think the fee would be an issue, even for Rangers. But it would depend on where he wants to play football, and if he wants to play in England or Scotland, or go back to Spain (less likely). My guess is he will turn into a mid-table Premier League level midfielder, but who knows?

Well, there ye go. Thanks a lot to Jack, who you can follow on Twitter here.