Premier League • England

Arsenal backed to sign their own Harry Kane in move for Prem striker who can do what Gabriel Jesus can’t

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus

Paul Merson threw his backing behind the idea of Arsenal signing a red-hot Premier League striker who can be Mikel Arteta’s own version of Harry Kane.

Jesus has been a resounding success since his £45m arrival from Man City last summer. The Brazilian, 26, has displayed excellent link-up play and is also Arsenal’s most aggressive presser when out of possession.

But for a knee injury picked up with Brazil during the World Cup, Jesus’ tally of 15 goal contributions in the Premier League this term would be far higher.

The Gunners may well miss out on their ultimate prize of lifting the Premier League this year. However, a long-awaited return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 campaign is already assured.

To ensure Arsenal can compete in Europe’s toughest competition without compromising in the league, former Arsenal favourite, Paul Merson, has urged Mikel Arteta to snap up Ivan Toney.

The Brentford talisman, 27, has been in the form of his life this term. Toney has bagged 20 goals in the league alone this season. Only Erling Haaland (33) and Harry Kane (24) have scored more.

When speaking on Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday program, Merson urged his former side to move for Toney who he believes can be Arteta’s answer to Harry Kane.

Merson also claimed there’s very little to choose between Toney and current Arsenal No 9 Jesus. However, one area in which Merson can split the pair is in the air, and a Toney signing would give Arsenal an out-ball when under pressure.

Toney “suits Arsenal down to the ground” – Merson

“I don’t see too much between him and Jesus, I don’t,” said Merson. “But If I was Arsenal I would take him.

“He suits Arsenal down to the ground. Sometimes you can’t really go long with Jesus but you can go long with Toney, he’s good in the air.

“Plus, if one plays and the other doesn’t, you’re not changing the team too much. They’re both very good footballers and Toney’s got a very good brain, he can see a picture.

“He’s not Harry Kane, but he can do a Harry Kane job where he comes off the centre-halves and pass balls through and find a pass.

“I’d be shocked if he was at Brentford next season, but if I was Arsenal I’d go and get him.”

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Toney is under contract with Brentford until 2025 and there’s no indication he wants out anytime soon.

However, the chance to compete for major honours and test himself in the Champions League could appeal.

One wrinkle that any club hoping to sign Toney must first iron out regards a looming punishment for breaching betting regulations.

Toney previously plead guilty to many of the 262 charges levied against him by the FA. A ban of up to six months has been speculated, something that would make any suitors pause for thought before pursuing a move.

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