On loan midfielder Jon Toral is determined to return to the Emirates and prove himself at Arsenal, and hopes to come back from his loan spell with Birmingham an improved player.
Speaking to Spanish publication Marca, the 20-year-old did an in depth interview discussing numerous topics, including his recent wonder goal against Ipswich Town, his hopes and dreams for the future, and his relationship with fellow Spaniard and Gunner Hector Bellerin.
If you haven’t seen Toral’s strike against Ipswich (or if you have but want to see it again) then check it out below:
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) January 24, 2016
Speaking on the goal and his future, Toral claims he’s looking to prove he’s got what it takes to succeed at Arsenal so he can return from Birmingham and force his way into the team.
“That is the goal that I yield. The idea is to make a good impression and to return to Arsenal, in my case, prove that I can be part of the team,” he said.
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Heavy competition in his position means he hasn’t really had a look in at Arsenal, and never got the same opportunities as his compatriot Bellerin. He’s happy for his friend and teammate rather than being jealous though, and admits there was never really any doubt about the right-back’s success.
“I’m very happy for him. He is doing an excellent job.
“I’ve known him since I came to Barcelona at 8 years and I knew what he was capable.
“He knew that once he trod the right side of Arsenal, he was not going to miss.”
The pair have known each other for years, being the same age and having spent time in Barcelona’s La Masia academy together. Toral admits it was difficult leaving Barcelona, but insists it was the right choice as he’s always had the desire to play in the Premier League.
“It was not easy [to leave Barcelona to go to Arsenal]. You miss family, friends, food, weather…but you just adapt.
“My decision was based on the sports component. I saw the change could come to me better, and open the opportunity to play in a league that I have always liked and followed a lot since childhood.
“I always said to myself, if one day I have the opportunity, why not?”
Despite being in England for over four years, we haven’t seen much of Toral recently. He’s spent a number of successful seasons out on loan though, including the last six months with Birmingham in which he managed six goals and four assists.
Whether or not he’s at the standard required to succeed at Arsenal is definitely still questionable, but he’s still incredibly young and has plenty of time to keep improving. There’s still a huge amount of competition in the Arsenal midfield, but with injuries and ageing stars currently among our ranks, he may well get his chance sooner rather than later.
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Hopefully after joining the club back in 2011 we’ll actually get to see him in the first team eventually, as despite being known for nurturing youth and keeping faith with our youngsters, we haven’t seen enough of our academy stars breaking through the ranks.