Premier League • England

Ivan Toney: Arsenal primed as perfect destination for Chelsea target as Rice success shows the way

Chelsea, Arsenal linked Brentford striker Ivan Toney

Brentford coach Thomas Frank revealed last week that Ivan Toney would be on the market for the right price and, with Arsenal seeking a new striking option, the Emirates would be the perfect destination. 

Arsenal are going to be in the market for a number nine and Toney, if he’s available, is going to be very much in demand not just with Arsenal, but with all clubs.

It’s pretty clear that Brentford understand the situation and Toney’s changed agents recently. All the signs and signals in the industry are that Toney could well be getting a big, big move – even if it’s not in January – then certainly in the summer. Arsenal will be interested; I’m absolutely sure they will be. It’s just whether they can afford him and whether they can win the race.

On the Diary of a CEO podcast, he was very keen to make it known that he liked the idea of playing for Arsenal. That felt a little bit like a come-and-get-me play for him. He was asked if he was a Liverpool fan, and he said yes but Arsenal really play great football. He was very keen to get Arsenal’s name out there. Players want to join Arsenal now.

Rice key to attracting more players

You see what happened with Declan Rice. He chose Arsenal over Manchester City in the summer. That was a huge thing and it’s a really appealing project for players now. They’re looking at Arsenal and they want to be a part of it.

Rice wanted to be a part of it and I’m sure if the opportunity was there that Toney would want to be a part of it. Rice was the biggest deal that they could have done since Sol Campbell in 2001 in terms of what it meant for Arsenal on the pitch and off the pitch.

The marker it laid down showed they absolutely mean business now in the transfer market. They can go toe to toe with Manchester City for a fully-established England international, one of the best players in the world in his position, and beat them to him. It says huge amounts not just to the fans but to other players.

  1. They would be thinking, why was Rice so keen to go to Arsenal over Manchester City and why did he want to work with Mikel Arteta rather than Pep Guardiola? They’ll see that and think maybe that’s what I should be doing. It said so much about where Arsenal are right now. It’s not going to be the last deal of that type we see.

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Toney would not be a guaranteed starter

Toney wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter; Mikel is very keen on rotation. When you look at Gabriel Jesus, he’s looking like he’s back to his best now. He can cause chaos. Jesus can be a 20-to-25-goals-a-season striker even though he’s not done that yet. If Toney was to join Arsenal, he’d have to earn his place in that team.

When you look at Toney, the big positive is he would offer them something different. When Jesus went off against PSV they put Kai Havertz up top at number nine. He did really well but he’s not a striker. Toney gives you that different option in the squad, and Arsenal would be a hell of a lot stronger for it.

He is a 20-goals-a-season striker, he’s already proved that at Brentford but he does score a lot of goals from set piece situations. When you look at open play goals, it’s not a huge amount. He scores a lot of penalties and free kicks. Maybe that’s something he needs to work on. If he goes to a club like Arsenal and takes a step to the next level then he’d be able to do that.

Arsenal are a much more attractive proposition than Chelsea right now. If you ask 100 people then 99 would give you the same response and it wouldn’t be Chelsea.