Arsenal 'locked' in Premier League battle for striker Paul Merson thinks will take them to 'next level'

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Arsenal are being linked with a move for a Premier League striker, but they are now alone.

Arsenal could be on their way to granting Paul Merson's transfer wish. The Gunners have been left short up front again following a fresh injury blow for Gabriel Jesus, although Eddie Nketiah has stepped up to the mark when called upon.

Most recently, Nketiah scored a hat-trick for the Gunners as they eased past Sheffield United last time out, proving his worth as Jesus' back-up. Kai Havertz was also signed during the summer, also able to play in the strike role But many still feel the Gunners need something else up front if they are going to go one better in this season's title race.

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Brentford star Ivan Toney, who is due back from his suspension in mid-January, has been linked, and a fresh report from the Evening Standard has claimed the Gunners are locked in an £80million battle for the England striker's signature.

Should Arsenal get their man, it would get the seal of approval from club legend Merson, who, earlier this season, has already told Sky Sports of Arsenal's striker situation: "I’ve always said it from day one – Eddie Nketiah is not going to win you the Premier League. You need a proper centre forward.

“I’m not blaming Nketiah because they drew 2-2 with Tottenham but with 32 games to go and all the Champions League games they have to play, I don’t think he takes them to the next level. I don’t even think Gabriel Jesus takes them to the next level.

“It’s alright sitting there and thinking ‘they need a centre forward’ – but who is there? Only Ivan Toney is available for them in January – there aren’t many centre forwards around in the world. They’re a dying breed.

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“I heard Michael Owen chatting the other day. Years ago you had him, Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Fowler getting 20 to 30 goals a season and they didn’t get a million England caps. Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand too. Now you get to Premier League goals and you play for England. Toney is a good player – he can hold the ball up, he’s good in the air. Arsenal might have to go for him. But there are not a million centre forwards around.”

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