Jon Toral: one of ten under age players we could see next season.

A little while back I wrote about the problems Arsenal have fitting all the current players and players on loan into the “25” list that is allowed.

Of course that will be worked out later, but it is worth considering who is knocking on the door in terms of youth players who might follow Hector Bellerin and break through.

The list I came up with of players who were too young to count in the “25” but who were either in the first team already or knocking on the door of the first team was…

  1. Akpom, Chuba
  2. Bellerin, Hector
  3. Chambers, Calum
  4. Crowley, Daniel
  5. Gnabry, Serge David
  6. Hayden, Isaac Scot
  7. Maitland-Niles, Ainsley
  8. Ormonde-Ottewill, Brandon
  9. Toral, Jon-Miquel
  10. Zelalem, Gedion

Some we already know well, but I think a word might be said about Jon Toral who has been on loan at Brentford of the Championship this season.  He has played 34 times for the club – although often from the bench, and has scored six.

His contract at Arsenal has now been extended for another year.

Jon is a friend of Hector Bellerin, and both left the Barcelona academy together but this season their paths parted, with Hector making his breakthrough into the first team and Jon, as I say, going to Brentford.

And it has not been too bad a season as the league table shows ahead of the final weekend with Brentford just missing out of a play off place – despite upheavels in terms of talk about the future of the club.

What makes this personally promising is that Jon has finally recovered from his knee problems that resulted in him having four operations between the age of 16 and 18.

With the Barcelona Under-16 team Jon won the global Nike Cup at Old Trafford in August 2010.  Barcelona offered him a contract for the Under-18s but Bellerin and Toral decided there was more to life than Barcelona.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, he of the imaginary tax regiemes and total denial that Barcelona have ever done anything wrong regarding their academy, condemned Arsenal’s approach (forgetting that Jon’s mother is from Doncaster).  Pesky things these details (although of course as an EU citizen over 16 years old Jon can work anywhere he likes within the Union.)

Arsenal paid Barcelona £300,000 for Jon even though he was still having problems with his knee, in February 2012.

Now with the operations done and a full season in the Championship Toral seems completely fit.  He scored a great goal against Bolton, and has fitted in well, learning the trade as they say.  Before the new contract was agreed he said in an interview ”

“I keep in touch with Dick Law and Steve Rowley.  They call me, asking how everything is going. I am finishing a contract this season and Arsenal have a preferential option. I work hard every day here at Brentford but my goal is that Arsenal give me a new contract for next season. I am working for it.”

Jon began his career at Arsenal playing for the reserves on 30 November 2011, and played in the 2012/13 Next Gen European series.  He played 20 times for the reserves in the next season and scored six, and played in pre-season games against Boreham Wood and New York Red Bulls in 2014 before joining Brentford on 15 August 2014 making his first appearance in a league cup game on 26 August.

He scored the first senior goal in the defeat to Bolton on 25 October and scored his first hat trick when Brenford beat Blackpool on 24 February this year.
He has also been called up by Spain at under 17 and under 19, and of course has the option to play for England as well as for Spain.

37 Replies to “Jon Toral: one of ten under age players we could see next season.”

  1. To the author (no name supplied)

    “What makes this personally promising is that Jon has finally recovered from his knee problems that resulted in him having four operations between the age of 16 and 18”.

    “Now with the operations done and a full season in the Championship Toral seems completely fit”

    I really hope you are right. That’s a lot of operations, and it has unwelcome similarities with young Paul Vaessen.

    He kept returning, playing a while, but eventually ended up back under the knife.

    I know things have moved on tremendously from the 80’s, and a full, uninterrupted season is a good sign, but it’s still a worry to have so much surgery at such an early stage of his career.

    Anyway I hope my worries are unfounded and wish young Jon all the best and look forward to seeing him in an Arsenal shirt in the not too distant future.

  2. For me Jon is ok, but i would like to see Isaac Hayden getting his chance next season. I don’t know whether people realise how our academy is feeding the first team.

  3. I would’ve included a GK & made an under 21 XI
    If you were to call Chambers a CB, which I’d say is a better position for him than RB, you’d have a back 4 in the list.
    The front 6 lacks a DM but that is nothing new for Arsenal now is it? We’ve seen how many games Arteta has played there.
    It will be interesting to see how many of these players are in the first team in 5 years times, if we’re alive that is.

    Honestly, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the leauge is much of a muchness, yes the prize money increases & 4th place comes with the CL qualifier, which Arsenal should be good enough to win, but the consequence is the same – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, ad infinitum = not good enough. The FA cup final is our only ‘cup final’ and so the remaining PL games, in my opinion, could be used to blood a few of these youngsters.

    If Maitland-Niles has inherited his mother’s fighting spirit he could have a big future at our great club =D

  4. Currently 4 teams can mathematically overtake us. When we can’t be caught blood them by all means.

  5. Sounds like he will be a hit; anyone scoring 6 goals mostly from the bench at the likes of Bradford should easily double or treble those figures playing for a team like Arsenal where his teammates will be creating chances for fun.

    Off topic
    Saw Wenger was asked in his press conference if he was going sign a new keeper and he responded thar Ospina was the top keeper in the premiership. The channel (not sure if it was sky or bbc) duly obliged and showed Ospina topping the charts in 3 categories which included clean sheets and shots stopped (can’t recall what the other category was). And yet we hear every day that we need a new goalkeeper…..

  6. Al

    Yep. One of the players Our beloved Henry classed as not good enough the other day.

    Would help if someone had the inclination, balls, to point out these kind of stats at the time people (yes I’m talking about you Henry) spout there crap.

    Fact is these pundits do know these stats yet they clearly chose to ignore them.


    Not an agenda by any chance?

    Of course not. Just an oversight obviously.

    Henry, already just another ex Arsenal pundit media muppet.

    Sorry but it’s true.

  7. This is an honest and not loaded question but how highly do you rate Chambers.

  8. I get really surprised at those who under rate Arsenals league position.

    What was your standing in school? were you in the top 4 in class? Well it’s not easy to get to the top in any walk of life. I am always in awe of Wenger in that he has teams that achieve what others would classify as the pinnacle. His is still a work in progress. His infrastructure project is amazing. His stadium is unbelievable. His teams play Wengerball & I & many others love what we see.

    However, there are those who stand on the top of the first flight of stairs & complain about the moon without having built a single step. Football seems simple when its played amongst your peers but it is such a beautiful game when played by students of Wenger. It is time to get of the stairs & watch others try to do what Arsenal have done despite the handicaps placed in our path.

    This crop of youngsters will have to run the same gauntlet until the Game is cleansed of dishonesty.

  9. @Mike T – Chambers is better than Adams, Cahill & Terry were at the same age. He will be a brilliant defender as he gets older provided he does not get a joint injury.

  10. Pretty shocking that BOO gets mentioned ahead of another ex Barca kid, Julio Pleguezuelo, tbf. BOO has no chance of a long term career at Arsenal, although it is not impossible he will have a fleeting appearance at some stage next season like Stefan O’Connor managed this.
    The only other one from that list not to appear for the first team is DAN Crowley, and hopefully that will change sooner rather than later. Far more effective player than Zelalem in the reserves.

    As for the main focus of the article, I would expect another loan next season. Hopefully JMT can have a more established starting role next season.

  11. Menace et al.
    I rate Calum Chambers very highly and believe he will turn out to be one of Wenger’s best signings.
    However, you refer to him as a centre-back, quite understandable given his versatility. But I’m sure I recall Arsene saying that Chamber’s long term future is in midfield. That would make more sense to me. Coquelin and Chambers would complement each other very well.
    Or am I imagining what I think Wenger said?

  12. He said he can play in midfield potentially, words to that effect.

    Chambers’ debut in midfield was a difficult game in an injury stricken rusty unfamiliar line up away against his old team. He’d have been nervous too as he was in the league cup game where Hayden (both rookies at CB, both played well, goals came from a free kick and pen.) had a blinder on full debut (?) against Southampton.

    We saw Chambers potential at CB from the off. During the Super Cup* game at Wembley against a full strength City front line he was outstanding. That performance was one of them “statement of intent” jobbies. A nineteen year rookie impressing on debut against Aguero etc.? Not to be ignored. Certainly the Gazprom fans I spoke to early on in the season (you know the type, those who have the footballs required to simply admit that Maureen’s ridiculous ego and the sale of Mata last season cost them an easy title**) said that he reminded them of a younger Terry, except he isn’t a fool and he can also run (therefore not requiring the extra aid the PGMOB have had to supply through their well known and easy to spot “Game Management”™ process’ to aid the Gazprom captain over the recent period).

    *I wouldn’t want to abuse the English language and put the words “community” or “charity” in the same sentence as the sweet F.A.

    **The understanding of many Gazprom fans of the impact the Mata sale had on their title challenge last season puts the constant bleating this week by the presstitutes such as on Football Focus or everywhere else in deeeeefence of this boring Gazprom team (compared to Ancelotti’s double winners etc…) into perspective. Just don’t mention the two plus billion spent building the squad! Those special agents and the specialists in signing players signed up to the special agents certainly have their influence. I guess that’s what makes them all so special! 🙂

    “This Gazprom team are great, they can defend brilliantly.” Which explains how they lost to ten man petrodollar rival Doha-sur-Seine F.C. Or sacked Sunderland manager and Gazprom old boy Poyet (hang on…).

  13. The reaction of the supporters of Gazprom (in the press, forget the club itself) to the Boring Boring Gazprom wind up chant has been properly hilarious. Do you think they are protesting too much? 🙂

    At the time I thought it wasn’t that clever a chant. But as I told the Gazprom petrodollar fan who visits these pages, I do not think that I am clever. Little did and do I know. Well played you Gooners

    Good stuff.

  14. I wonder if the admirers in the press of the specialist in signing players from special agents will ever be able to comment on why other managers were able to get more out of A.Cole after his move then the special one? That was an interesting observation. You’d think .

  15. Finsbury, They do seem extremely riled as a club over our fans chants, which seem to have upset the wider anti Arsenal media as well, life long blues fan Paul Merson sounded like he was spitting feathers over the mere notion of Chelsea being boring. Guess the reason being, they know that ultimately,despite the best efforts of some of the media, these labels stick, and that in time, Abramovich will start believing the boring tag as well, and sack the manager, as he did before, starting the whole managerial revolving doors policy again, which has bought them success but may not do so to the same degree in the future, with even the watered down version of FFP now in place.

  16. Yes. The owner sacked the manager that all these petty plundits are trying to defend for not being boring, for being boring.

    Which, when you think about it, it is quite funny! 🙂

    As Jamie Redknapp football plundit extraordinaire would say:
    “You ‘literally’ couldn’t make it up!”

  17. Blackpool relegated. Pitch invasion. Game called off.
    Newcastle three nil down and down to nine men, Pardew out banners still fresh in the bin bags.

    Yup. It must be as those AAAA were preaching to me after the Villa home game last season. “The Arsenal board are the worst in football”.

    How or why could they be so disingenuous? Perhaps the self-declared experts in PR out there would have the answer. I don’t know…

  18. Jon Toral was on the bench, and did not play today as Brentford beat Wigan to get into playoffs.

    Wolves missed out on playoffs by a goal difference of 4. Afobe did play, I don’t know how he managed to not score at all against Millwall.

  19. Toral in the play offs for Brentford.
    From afar it seems he often comes on when they have been chasing a goal. Very impressive goals record coming off the bench for a rookie teenage midfielder.

    He’s done well.

    Further evidence if it were ever needed that the Arsenal board are the worst in football, project youth has failed, Wenger doesn’t do tactics (I.e.: Defend a.k.a.: clog) and only buys players with brittle bones…did I miss out any of the usual bollocks?

  20. Disappointed in Southampton today, but how to go West Brom!

    I wonder if Losa has been out today? There was some comment about a new player for Cambridge today, but I think she would be much better off at Arsenal.

  21. Looking at the BBC babbling, and after West Brom scored, ref gives ManU a penalty for a foul (maybe) outside the box. The skunk takes it, and it is saved. McNair can break ankles, but he can’t head a ball.

  22. McNair got away with ‘one’ as the commentator put it, but the pen was for a handball – apparently the hand was in the area!!!! that’s a new one. Nice to see Judas miss one again. Must be losing his touch with all that money.

    PGMO ‘s Moss was in a game with a few pens as well. Hope he gets over his bias against Arsenal before the final.

  23. United had:

    80% possession. That’s the 2nd highest since OPTA began, beaten only by Man City (82%) in there title winning game against QPR

    25 shots to 7

    I’d be gutted losing like that but is this Karma for all the games they won when being out played earlier in the year, not least at the Emirates?

    How many times was De Gea man of the Match?

  24. My only concern with the Utd result is that if they need it, the pgmol will do their utmost to ensure Utd get in the top four, and that could include the fixture against us at OT.
    I have been moaning about Chelsea’s anti football all week, so it would be so hypocritical of me to take any joy from this result……..wouldn’t it………but I am going to anyway!

  25. Taf Moore is in front of BOO and if we didnt have so many full backs would be very close. A loan is probably in store for him

  26. I’m kind of hoping Palace do a West Brom tomorrow, and the other game ends a tie. What are other people hoping for?

  27. Excuse me for being dumb, who is BOO?

    There is a BOO who is a golfer, and there is a BOO who contributes to Untold. I’m drawing a blank on a third BOO.

  28. Sure, after I hit send. There is a player whose initials are B.O.O. You just don’t want to type it all out.

    While I’ve typed in a couple of twitter feeds, I can’t say that either Tafari or Brandon have crossed my radar. It sounds like you are more on top of things. How many games have you been to? I can’t go to any (live in western Canada).

  29. Mandy Dodd

    The fact is WBA employed the same tactics that Chelsea did at OT last season, the difference being WBA’s team didn’t cost £100’s of Millions, so it’s understandable why they did it.

    Why Mourhino feels the need to bore the pants off us God only knows.

    Oh, and of course WBA won 🙂

    So there’s no need to feel hypocritical.

  30. Thanks Jambug, all very true! Pellegrini says Chelsea have excellent players but play like a small club

  31. Gord

    Better thanks, but the truth is, once a nerd, always a nerd, and once a Technophobe, always a technophobe.

    Sadly I am a fully paid up member of the latter.

    But I know where to come when I need some help :smil:

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