Manchester United should have signed Ivan Toney this summer, according to former Premier League striker Troy Deeney – who can now see a move to Chelsea materialising.
Toney has just received his first call-up for the England national team thanks to his efforts for Brentford. Depending on how he does in the upcoming UEFA Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany, he could cement his status as a man of the moment.
The striker already has five goals from six appearances in the Premier League this season. Most recently, he scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Leeds United on September 3.
After 12 goals in the top flight last season, Toney has proven himself in the Premier League. Still only 26, some have wondered if he is capable of taking another step up in his career.
Over the summer, there were some links with Manchester United or Chelsea for Toney. Ultimately, though, he remained with Brentford.
Instead, Chelsea ended up signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona. It prompted a short-lived reunion with Thomas Tuchel.
Manchester United, meanwhile, did not sign an out-and-out centre-forward while they had the opportunity. Consequently, they never found a replacement for Edinson Cavani.
According to ex-Watford striker Deeney, the former Newcastle forward would have been a good fit at Old Trafford.
And if he can keep his form up across the whole season, other big clubs like the Blues are unlikely to lose sight of him.
Ivan Toney ‘would have shone’ for Man Utd
Deeney, who classes Toney as a friend, wrote for The Sun: “This guy has proven for a few years now that he can do it on the next level.
“I remember Ivan was linked with Arsenal and Manchester United previously and he would have shone there.
“He would have been a perfect fit for United in terms of what they currently need up front, as well as Arsenal until Gabriel Jesus redefined that role for them.
“If he has the year he will likely have, even Chelsea will be keeping an eye on him.
“He could go there long-term and be a real success under Graham Potter.
“You look at the certain type of striker nowadays, your Darwin Nunez or Erling Haaland who are 6ft-plus and are mobile and can score all different types of goals, you have to put Ivan in that category.”
Eriksen connection brought best out of Toney
Backed by the conviction that he is now an international-level striker, Ivan Toney could reach further new heights in the 2022-23 season.
Only time will tell what that means for his club career. But Deeney believes that surrounding himself with better players – as he is about to with England – will help him develop further.
Interestingly, the Birmingham City captain pointed to how Toney got better playing in the same side as Christian Eriksen. Of course, the Denmark international is now at Manchester United himself.
Deeney added: “His game evolved massively simply by playing briefly with Christian Eriksen last season at Brentford.
“He used to come deep a lot and yet a few months with Eriksen saw him stay high on the defender’s shoulder and he grabbed more goals.
“When he is around better players he lifts and raises his own game. And being at England will only see him kick on and do more.
“Ivan won’t get intimidated and he will take his game to a whole new level.”
Perhaps the same could happen at club level if all goes to plan for Toney. For what it’s worth, his contract with Brentford is due to run until 2025.