Arsenal midfielder Jon Toral could return early from his season-long loan spell at Birmingham City after suffering a hamstring injury, which could rule him out for the rest of the season. The former Barcelona starlet suffered the injury during training and manager Gary Rowett has admitted that it could be the end of his campaign with the Championship club.
"We have been a bit unfortunate, Jon Toral was suspended but pulled his hamstring in training yesterday so there's a possibility that might be his season done, we will have to look at that — but again we are not ruling him out of the Cardiff game," the Blues' manager said, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail.
"At that point you can argue is there any point playing someone who has had a hamstring injury and risk tearing it again for one last game?" he added.
The 21-year-old midfielder, who joined Arsenal from Barcelona's famed La Masia academy in 2011, has been impressive with Birmingham this season. He came through the Gunners youth set up before being farmed out on loan and has spent the last two campaigns in the Championship.
The Spanish midfielder has become a fan favourite at St Andrews following some impressive performances and his eight goals and four assists in 36 league games have contributed in helping the club sit in ninth place, 10 points off the playoff places with three games to go.
Rowett has expressed an interest in signing the player on a temporary basis yet again for the 2016/17 season but admits that it will be a hard task, as the player will want to play at a higher level after impressing in the Championship. The Blues manager believes Toral could look to get a loan move to a Premier League club if he does not break into the first team at Arsenal.
"I would never rule that out because he is exactly the type of player we would try to get on loan next season. The reality of that is he had a good season at Brentford last year where he didn't start many games but scored six goals," Rowett said, as quoted by the Birmingham newspaper.
"This year there has been progression in that he has started an awful lot of games and scored eight goals. In his mind he is going to want to go back and see if his future lies at Arsenal. If his future doesn't lie at Arsenal the sensible thing for him to do is to look at the next step."
"The next step for him would be a team higher in the system than us because that's the obvious thing for him. I don't think he is going to be an easy one to get back the first day of next pre-season."
"He is going to be one that of course you would monitor, of course you would try to get back at some point but the reality is I think he would be looking for maybe a Premier League move if it's not with Arsenal," he added.