What Julen Lopetegui has already said about Ivan Toney amid West Ham transfer links

Julen Lopetegui with Brentford boss Thomas Frank.Julen Lopetegui with Brentford boss Thomas Frank.
Julen Lopetegui with Brentford boss Thomas Frank.
West Ham have been linked with a transfer move for the Brentford star, and Lopetegui is already a fan.

West Ham are expected to appoint former Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui as the club's replacement for the outgoing David Moyes this summer. What that means for the Hammers' summer transfer window remains to be seen, but the Spaniard is a fan of one player linked with a move to the London Stadium.

West Ham are known to be in the market for a striker come the opening of the transfer window. Jarrod Bowen has excelled through the middle, but is an out-and-out winger, while Michail Antonio could leave the club this summer when his contract expires.

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One player hotly linked with a move to the London Stadium is Brentford talisman Ivan Toney. The England international had previously been a target for Arsenal and Chelsea with a £100 million price tag placed on his head.

Since then, rumours have cooled and Football Insider has reported that West Ham are frontrunners to complete a deal. It would be a statement signing for the club with Toney potentially available at a more reasonable price having failed to score since the middle of February.

Lopetegui has only faced Toney once, which came when Wolves beat Brentford 2-0 in a Premier League fixture at Molineux in April 2023. Diego Costa and Hwang Hee-chan scored for Wolves on that day as Toney played the full 90 minutes.

Toney had scored five in his previous nine appearances before travelling to Molineux and, after the match, Lopetegui labelled him a 'top player' in the Premier League. Analysing the game, he told the Wolves website: “All the team has worked very hard in the defensive way, not only against [Ivan] Toney, they have very good players. Toney is one of the top players now in the Premier League.

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Julen Lopetegui with Brentford boss Thomas Frank.Julen Lopetegui with Brentford boss Thomas Frank.
Julen Lopetegui with Brentford boss Thomas Frank.

"They have a very good team, a good coach, and are clearly showing they want to play. They change sometimes the attack, it’s not easy to play against this kind of team, but that’s why I highlight the work or all the team in a defensive way.”

The club's transfer links with the Brentford striker could therefore interest Lopetegui, who is known to be demanding in the transfer window. The ex Wolves manager is, however, said to be a 'big fan' of Michail Antonio with the striker linked with his former Premier League side a year and a half ago.

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