Jon Toral's proposed move to Rangers looks to be edging closer to completion after Granada confirmed Arsenal have exercised a January option to recall the Catalan playmaker from his season-long loan spell at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes.
"Arsenal Football Club have decided to activate the option that they had in the winter market to recall Jon Toral, who has been on loan at Granada," the La Liga strugglers revealed in a statement released via their official website on Tuesday morning (10 January). "This way, the player from Reus ceases to belong to Granada from today and undertakes a new football challenge.
"Granada CF want to wish the best of luck to a player who always defended with absolute professionalism our shield and who was the scorer of a beautiful goal against Osasuna in the Copa del Rey this season."
Toral made just six appearances across all competitions for Granada, who currently sit 19th in the Spanish top-flight having won just one of their opening 17 league matches of the season.
Signed by Paco Jemez, Toral's fortunes were not helped in September when the 46-year-old, who was only appointed by the club's ambitious new Chinese owners three months earlier, was sacked and replaced by Lucas Alcaraz after presiding over the team's worst start to a season in more than 70 years.
The new challenge referred to regarding Toral likely concerns an imminent loan switch to the Scottish Premiership, where Mark Warburton's Rangers, who trail rivals Celtic by 19 points, are looking to cement their grip on second place ahead of Aberdeen and Hearts . Rumours over such a deal have been circulating for a while now and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger recently backed the player to join the blue half of Glasgow.
"We work on it to see if it is possible, yes," Wenger was quoted as saying by ESPN following Arsenal's last-gasp 2-1 FA Cup third round victory over Preston North End at Deepdale. "He has played games there [for Granada] but at the moment he doesn't play and personally I think it would be a good transition for him."
Speaking to The Daily Record before Granada's recent 5-0 drubbing by Real Madrid, Toral, who has previously proven his quality in the Championship with far more successful stints at Brentford and Birmingham City, welcomed the interest from Rangers – but declined to expand much further out of respect.
"When there is interest in you from such a big club then it's always good but that's as much as I can say right now," he said. "It's not easy to talk about it because I am still a Granada player and we have a game to prepare for on Saturday against Real Madrid, so my thoughts are on that. But if it happens, it happens. We'll see in the next few weeks.
"I would rather speak about this later. I think it would be disrespectful to speak about other clubs now while I'm in Granada and I'm training with them. I'm a team player here, a squad player and I don't think it's right to talk about other teams right now. If I have to leave then it'll be different but right now I'm just thinking about the game against Real Madrid so I apologise because I can't say too much more at this moment."