Ivan Toney to Arsenal transfer: Brentford decision twist, 'very difficult' issue, pundits disagree

Could Ivan Toney find a new club this January? (Image: Getty Images)Could Ivan Toney find a new club this January? (Image: Getty Images)
Could Ivan Toney find a new club this January? (Image: Getty Images)
Arsenal have been touted as the most likely club to complete a transfer for Brentford star Ivan Toney but there are some issues

The future of Ivan Toney is set to be one of the January transfer window's hottest stories with the Brentford star tipped to be a top target for title-chasers Arsenal this month.

The Gunners need to reignite their campaign after defeats to West Ham and Fulham over the festive period with strikers Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah struggling for consistency in front of goal. Toney, who has spent the last eight months serving a ban for gambling breaches, has long been touted as the ideal candidate for that job.

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The 27-year-old is set to return for Brentford after the international break on January 20 for the side's meeting with Nottingham Forest as his spell on the sidelines comes to an end. LondonWorld looks through the latest updates on the potential transfer.

Brentford hope to insert release clause in Ivan Toney contract

Despite Ivan Toney's imminent return to football following his lengthy ban, a transfer for the Brentford star may not be completed until the summer. TEAMtalk reports that the Bees are confident that the talisman will sign a new contract at the Gtech in the coming weeks.

It is believed that a new deal for Toney would come with a built-in release clause that any suitors would have to match to sign the England international, who netted an impressive 20 Premier League goals last season.

The outlet stresses that a new contract for Toney would not point to him playing his football at Brentford in years to come but help outline how a deal with interested parties could be made this summer. The player is currently on the books at the West London club until Jun 2025.

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FFP could be party pooper for Arsenal's Toney endeavours

There is little doubt that Arsenal are in the market for a talisman during the transfer window but financial limitations and fires to put out elsewhere in the squad complicate a deal for Ivan Toney.

Mail Sport's Chief Football Reporter Sami Mokbel shed light on the Gunners' financial pressures on the It's All Kicking Off podcast and admitted that despite the Brentford star being 'towards the top' of the club's shopping list, a big-money deal may be impossible.

He said: "Arsenal are very, very interested. But, it's expensive in January. Particularly when you consider Arsenal spent close to £200m in the summer on Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and obviously they loaned David Raya which will turn into a permanent deal. So, when you consider FFP [Financial Fair Play] and how much you can spend around those regulations, it will be a very difficult deal to do. It's almost an impossible deal to do in January without outgoings.

"It's an area they are looking to strengthen, there's no doubt about that. Toney is towards, if not the top, of their recruitment list for a striker. But, we have to remember heading into this month, there are other areas Mikel Arteta might look at and say that is a priority."

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Pundits disagree over Toney suitability for Arsenal

Arsenal legend Paul Merson is the latest pundit to give his view on the links between his former club and Ivan Toney. For the Sky Sports man, who shared his thoughts following Mikel Arteta's side's defeat to Fulham, the club 'have to' complete a deal for the star.

Mikel Arteta has endured a difficult festive run of results (Image: Getty Images)Mikel Arteta has endured a difficult festive run of results (Image: Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta has endured a difficult festive run of results (Image: Getty Images)

A passionate Merson said: "Arsenal have to go and get Toney, simple! It’s not over yet."

However, other former professionals are beginning to share second thoughts about the move, which had been widely seen as the obvious destination for the 27-year-old. Former Manchester United and Chelsea man Mark Hughes questioned whether the busybody forward is the type of player that Arsenal need.

Speaking on the William Hill podcast, Hughes said: “I love the way he plays. He is key to the patterns that Arsenal like with his link-up play. But as a 10-15 goals-a-season striker, will that be the difference?”

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Arsenal legend points club towards in-form Brentford striker

A man who knows about scoring goals for Arsenal, Ian Wright, also gave his twopence on the deal. The Match of the Day pundit agreed with Hughes' analysis of Toney's playing style and pointed to another Premier League star as potentially a better target.

He said: “His rise in the Premier League coming from Brentford and scoring goals, all the way to get here. Of course, the link is something which is good for him. I don’t think he’s somebody that if you look at the goals output that he isn’t going to do something at Arsenal, maybe he will. Look at the way he plays for Brentford and the way Arsenal try to play now. Then I am thinking, ‘yeah, I could see him in there’.

“But then you could also see a Dominic Solanke in the way he plays. Somebody who has got some pedigree from Chelsea from playing at a young age. Played at Liverpool. Learning his trade. Getting ridiculed for the lack of goals. Look at him now, he is a proper modern centre-forward in everything he does – he is another person they are going to be linked to and probably in and around.”

Dominic Solanke could be better suited to the way that Arsenal play. (Image: Getty Images)Dominic Solanke could be better suited to the way that Arsenal play. (Image: Getty Images)
Dominic Solanke could be better suited to the way that Arsenal play. (Image: Getty Images)

The Cherries man has fast become the talk of the league this season with his 12 goals in 19 appearances, including a Christmas hat-trick against Nottingham Forest, highlighting his credentials as one of the top flight's most talented marksmen. The South Coast club are believed to be willing to listen to offers of £50 million for the player, who has helped lift them up and away from a relegation battle.

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Thomas Frank's Toney training revelation - will be 'like new signing' for struggling Bees

There may be some questions about Ivan Toney's match fitness and sharpness after his eight-month ban from the sport. Having dropped vital points over the festive period, Arsenal are not in a position to be able to allow any new signing time to settle with a title race at hand.

Celtic hero Chris Sutton said: “He has not played for months because of his suspension. He will have been training, but how much match sharpness does he have? Arsenal are trying to win the title, so they haven’t got time to wait for anyone to get up to speed.”

However, Brentford manager Thomas Frank has teased that the striker is still as sharp as ever, scoring goals in training, and planned to utilise the star in his Bees squad as soon as possible. Speaking after the defeat to Wolves at the Gtech, the manager said: "Of course, we look forward to getting Ivan back. It's getting closer. We had an in-house game the other day and he scored two goals, so that'll be just like a new signing."

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