He joined Arsenal at the same time as Hector Bellerin and there were suggestions in some quarters that Jon Toral was the superior talent of the pair.
Fast forward five and a half years, however, and, while Bellerin is firmly established as Arsenal’s first-choice right-back, Toral finds himself out on loan for the third season in succession with his hopes of succeeding at Arsenal continuing to dwindle.
Toral is undoubtedly a fine talent. Capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, in a more deep-lying position or on either flank, the Spaniard is tall, elegant in possession and possesses the ability to find the net with spectacular strikes.
Having shown some impressive glimpses of his ability during a loan spell with Brentford in the 2014/15 campaign, Toral stepped up a gear at Birmingham City last season as he scored eight goals in 36 Championship appearances, which encompassed some encouraging performances.
This season, rather than being bedded into the first-team set-up via the traditional route of the League Cup, Toral was, somewhat bewilderingly, dispatched out on loan yet again, this time back to his homeland with Granada.
It hasn’t exactly been plain sailing for the 21-year-old, who has made just six appearances for his temporary club across all competitions, scoring once.
There is little doubt about Toral’s ability but there is now a sizeable question mark about whether he will be given an opportunity at Arsenal.
Despite his aforementioned versatility, it is difficult to see how the prospect fits in to Arsene Wenger’s plans and he is certainly approaching that oft-mentioned stage in a player’s development when a concrete decision has to be made about their long-term future.
A parting of the ways, it seems, may be best for all concerned. Toral certainly need to play regularly and Arsenal are highly unlikely to be able to grant him that wish.
A sale, with a buyback clause inserted, could well be the solution to the problem.