La Liga side Granada have confirmed the signing of Arsenal midfielder Jon Toral on a season-long loan, with the 21-year-old being dispatched on temporary transfer for the third campaign in succession.
After impressing for both Birmingham City and Brentford, it was anticipated that, at the very least, Toral would receive some run-outs for the Arsenal first-team this season.
As it has transpired, however, the prospect has been sent on loan to Granada without even having attended a single senior training session with the Gunners this summer.
Toral will undoubtedly benefit greatly from his time at Granada, with the experience of playing against Real Madrid and his former club Barcelona certainly set to be highlights of his time back in Spain.
As far as his Arsenal chances are concerned, however, this move gives more questions than answers about whether Toral will eventually make the grade at the club.
Whereas Hector Bellerin, who joined the Gunners from Barcelona at the same time, is now firmly established as Arsenal’s first-choice right-back after a single and moderately successful loan spell, Toral has had to bide his time in the Championship and will now spend another year away from the club.
With Dan Crowley’s progression to the first-team not as inevitable as it perhaps once was, there could still be an opening for Toral in the long term, and his ability to operate effectively out wide as well as centrally helps his cause greatly.
However, it does seem rather strange that Arsene Wenger didn’t consider Toral for a place in the squad this season, particularly following the departure of Tomas Rosicky.
Toral will be 22 by the time he returns to Arsenal next year, and, one thing is for certain, a concrete decision on whether or not to give him an opportunity in the first-team will have to be made then.