Premier League • England

Chelsea backed to snatch elite Arsenal target who’ll replace star who’s ‘a bit like Bambi’


Chelsea will be “a force to be reckoned with” if beating Arsenal to Brentford hitman Ivan Toney, and one pundit believes the transfer is necessary to take the spotlight off a forward who is “all over the place”.

Toney, 27, is expected to be on the move at some stage in 2024. Brentford boss Thomas Frank previously admitted Toney will be up for sale next year, while Fabrizio Romano namechecked Arsenal and Chelsea as viable destinations on Thursday.

The going rate for Toney is projected to be between the £60m-£75m range. Per Romano, the size of sum Brentford will command will change depending on whether Toney leaves in January or the summer.

While not stated, logic would dictate the Bees will demand a higher fee if selling mid-season, especially as Toney’s eight-month suspension for breaching betting regulations will conclude midway through January.

Of Toney’s two primary suitors it appears to be Chelsea who have by far the greater need for Toney.

Despite a colossal outlay in the Todd Boehly era, Chelsea still don’t possess a reliable scorer of goals.

Arsenal don’t have that one individual player capable of scoring 20-plus either. However, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard all proved they can comfortably score 10-15 each in the league last season.

Now, speaking to Football Insider, pundit and former West Ham striker, Frank McAvennie, claimed signing Toney would make Chelsea a force again.

Nicolas Jackson is the player Mauricio Pochettino is currently tasking with leading the line. The Senegal international has shown superb movement since his £34m arrival from Villarreal. Jackson has all the physical attributes, though has been found wanting in front of goal and often appears rushed or off balance when striking the ball.

Jackson is currently second in the Premier League in the category of big chances missed this season with seven.

Erling Haaland surprisingly tops the list with nine, though Haaland is converting his shots into goals at a 19.5 percent clip. By stark contrast, just 3.9 percent of Jackson’s shots have found the net.

Toney a huge upgrade on Jackson

“I still think they could do with Toney,” said McAvennie. “I think if they get him they will be a force to be reckoned with again.

“They have got a decent squad but no disrespect to Jackson as I think he will be a great player but he is all over the place, he is a bit like Bambi.

“He will be a wonderful asset to Chelsea but if they get Toney it is like getting Drogba, he does not mind mixing it up, he does not mind the long runs and I think that is what Chelsea need.“

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