According to reports, Championship side Derby County has been monitoring Arsenal youngster Jon Toral after it is becoming increasingly clear that Arsenal aren’t considering him in the long run. The Spanish midfielder hasn’t managed to break into Arsenal’s first team since joining from Barcelona six years back and his recurring temporary moves could finally get permanent this summer.
Derby County had a more or less positive season in the Championship last term. Barring the horrible patches in the initial stage and midseason, which saw them going on a three-match losing streak twice, the Rams did show grit and mettle. Their decent run also included a 10-match unbeaten streak, which played a major role in them finishing just three places below the playoff qualification spot.
However, they were criticised for not creating enough chances up front, despite having a solid backline to stop the strongest of attack in the league. Derby could score a meagre 54 goals in 46 games last term, despite having a strong trio in Johnny Russell, Darren Bent and Tom Ince. And now, with the likes of Ince and midfielder Will Hughes gone, manager Gary Rowett is racing against time to bring together a strong squad before the season starts.
Despite selling two of their best-attacking players, Derby are yet to sign a replacement. Their reinforcements have been mainly defensive, in centre-half Curtis Davies and defensive midfielder Tom Huddlestone from Hull City and full-back Andre Wisdom from Liverpool. And 22-year-old Toral could be their first exciting arrival of the summer.
A product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy, he joined London Colney with current Arsenal star Hector Bellerin but had to spend most of his time in other clubs. Following his break into the Arsenal Under-21 side, he was sent on loan to a string of lower-tier sides like Brentford, Birmingham City, Granada CF and Rangers.
Current Derby manager, Rowett, is quite acquainted with his talent as they spent a successful stint together at Birmingham in the 2015/16 season. Toral was impressive there having scored eight goals and even being voted as the supporter’s player of the season. But, it wasn’t enough to break into Arsenal’s first team. While his Granada stint was cut short owing to lack of playing time, the Rangers move remained quiet.
The likes of Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and more have all made their way to Arsenal’s first team over the years, and Toral’s exclusion from the side’s pre-season tour was the final nail in the coffin.
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