The Daily Record provided some top-drawer entertainment* yesterday with this story: [*No, really…]
On the face of it, it was pretty standard transfer window fodder. As you might expect, it linked Sevco to a player who has been around the block, who won’t be expensive and who (astonishingly) has a Brentford connection. Here are some extracts:
“The Ibrox boss has identified the former Brentford and Birmingham creative midfielder, currently on loan at Granada, as his No.1 target.
Rangers boss Mark Warburton has made Arsenal midfielder Jon Toral his priority January signing target.
Record Sport understands Toral is considering pulling the plug on an ill-fated season-long loan with La Liga strugglers Granada and moving to Glasgow on a short-term deal instead.”
“He has also enlisted the help of Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta to help convince the player of the benefits of a move to Ibrox.
Like Arteta – who moved to Rangers as a youngster in 2002 – Toral is a product of Barcelona’s youth academy. The pair became friends when Toral and team-mate Hector Bellerin left the Nou Camp to join Arsenal’s youth set-up in 2011.
But while Bellerin has gone on to nail down a regular place in Arsene Wenger’s first team, Toral has been farmed out to a number of clubs.
In fact, he made his first appearance in senior football under Warburton at Brentford, during a season-long loan deal in 2014 and went on to become a key player in the side that pushed for promotion to the Premier League.
Warburton said at the time: ‘This is a sign of the relationship we have with Arsenal and our continuing desire to add quality to our playing squad.’
Now Warburton – who loaned Gideon Zelalem from the Gunners last season – is hoping to draw down on those connections again to bring Toral to Rangers. The Spaniard spent last season at Birmingham and was voted the club’s player of the year by both his team-mates and supporters.”
“It’s understood Arteta has strongly advised Toral to take up Warburton’s offer of a fresh start in Scottish football.”
But the real joy of the piece came in the tale of Warbo’s globetrotting to try and secure the services of his “priority target”. This is a belter…
“And Warburton is so determined to talk Toral into making the move he has made a trip to Spain to open the discussions.
Record Sport reported last month the Ibrox manager had flown abroad to hold talks with Jota Peleteiro, another of his his former Brentord playmakers who is also cutting short a loan deal with Eibar after being recalled to Griffin Park.
But, while Jota’s name does still feature highly on Warburton’s wanted list, the Englishman denied he had been in Spain to meet with him.
Now Record Sport can reveal 21-year-old Toral was the man Warburton wanted to talk with face to face – and he has also enlisted the help of Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta to help convince the player of the benefits of a move to Ibrox.”
You may remember the recent mirth when Warbo scoffed at reports that he’d been in Spain
It is worth recalling that on 21 December 2016 the Record said that
“Mark Warburton has stepped up his move to land priority January target Jota Peleteiro by flying to Spain to hold face-to-face talks with the winger.
Record Sport understands Warburton made the secret trip at some point in the last seven days in a bid to personally persuade the 25-year-old to move to Glasgow.”
How amusing then to read yesterday’s ‘exclusive’ that it was actually Jon Toral that Warbo wanted to speak to when jetting out to Spain!
I guess it’s an easy mistake to make…
Of course, Warbo clearly remains interested in Peleteiro. If only because the Record previously ran a splash about it. And like misplaced urine on a white carpet, a Record splash can’t easily be expunged…
Does anyone in Sevconia actually swallow this stuff as a serious insight into the transfer dealings of their ‘club’? They would have to have a pretty limited world view to do so…
I fear however, that this is only just the beginning. As the transfer window progresses it wouldn’t surprise me to read further epic Spanish revelations from the Record:
- “We actually meant Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez! Warbo wanted their autographs to sell and raise a transfer budget for Rangers*”
- “Exclusive! Warbo thought about Spanish football while watching classic sitcom’Duty Free'”
- “Paella in the sky! Warbo has Spanish meal while persuading Rochdale Galactico to sign on four week loan.”
- “Warbo’s ‘transfer window Catalan war cry! Gers* manager sings ‘Barcelona’ at pub karaoke.”
- “Spain? Who mentioned Spain?”
- “Jetted out? Nah you’ve got the wrong paper there, mate…”
- “What transfer window?”