By KEVIN CRAIGENS
ARSENAL midfielder Jon Toral has revealed pals Gedion Zelalem and Mikel Arteta helped clinch his loan switch to Rangers.
The former Barcelona academy player has sealed a loan to Mark Warburton’s Ibrox side for the rest of the season and could make his Scottish Cup debut at home to Motherwell in today’s live lunchtime TV clash.
Toral had been on loan in La Liga during the first half of the season but the deal was cut short.
Arsenal were keen to give him a chance to prove himself after the loan deal with Granada stuttered through a lack of playing time for the 21-year-old playmaker.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: “He has played games for Granada but at the moment he doesn’t play and personally I think it would be a good transition for him.”
Once interest from Rangers was clear, Toral spoke to two former Rangers players who sold him on the move.
He revealed: “I know Gedion Zelalem had a great time here last season when he was on loan from Arsenal, so that was on my mind.
“I spoke to Mikel Arteta as well and he told me I would enjoy my time here, so that helped me take the decision.”
Toral is poised to feature this afternoon as Gers bid to bury the memory of last season’s controversial 3-2 Scottish Cup Final from Hibernian and go one better this time around.
The Spaniard said: “I am here to win every game I play. Of course, it will be difficult to catch Celtic so we want to finish as high as we can in the league.
“Now the Scottish Cup is obviously massive for us and we want to win it. I want to help my team-mates win that trophy.”
Elsewhere, Joey Barton has come in at Burnley on a free after being released from Rangers at the end of last year and former Motherwell forward Lukasz Jutkiewicz has left the Turf Moor side for Birmingham City for £1million.
Another former Rangers player on the move is goalkeeper Allan McGregor. The Scotland keeper has left Hull City on loan to join struggling English Championship side Cardiff City on loan.
Former Celtic Youth prospect, Islam Feruz, has once again been sent out on loan from Chelsea with the 21-year-old striker this time joining Swindon Town.
Transfer rumours are coming thick and fast as deadline day approaches. With speculation mounting that Hull’s Scotland midfielder Robert Snodgrass could be on his way to the London Stadium to join West Ham United in a £6million deal. Two Hammers bids have already been rejected.
English Premier League sides could miss out on Scottish midfielder Barrie McKay if they are not quick as German side RB Leipzig are reportedly interested in the Rangers midfielder with the fee proposed to be in the region of £6million.