After staying at Brentford during the recent January transfer window, Ivan Toney looks set to be on the move in the summer.
The Bees talisman was heavily linked with a winter transfer, with major clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all interested. Toney ended up remaining at the Gtech Community Stadium as he wanted to repay the faith Brentford showed in him throughout his betting ban, while the Premier League’s elite clubs also had a very quiet January window.
But Toney will be able to test himself out at a higher level next season. On Wednesday, Brentford manager Thomas Frank said it is ‘really obvious’ Toney will ‘probably be sold’ at the end of the campaign.
Frank suggested that Brentford will likely hold out for a massive fee as they view the 27-year-old as being one of the best centre-forwards in the world, though he did add that it would be ‘fun’ to see him shine for a ‘top team’.
Following those eye-catching comments, TEAMtalk has decided to take a look at the attackers Toney could displace, while also ranking the clubs he is most likely to join next.
Arsenal must be considered frontrunners in the chase to land Toney. Mikel Arteta is known to be a huge fan of him, while the Gunners have also completed the most groundwork for a potential deal out of any of the player’s potential suitors.
During his appearance on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Toney said that while he has been a Liverpool fan since childhood, he is a big admirer of Arsenal as he loves the way they play.
A switch to the Emirates would make the most sense, too. Arteta’s current striker options are Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.
While first-choice striker Jesus is a great player in his own right, he lacks the goalscoring prowess needed to help Arsenal win major silverware on a regular basis. Signing Toney would help to solve this problem, as the Englishman netted 20 goals in 33 Premier League games last term and has also found the back of the net twice since returning from his betting ban last month.
Toney’s arrival would likely see Jesus reduced to the role of deputy and Nketiah be sold. Crystal Palace are long-term admirers of the latter.
Kai Havertz would also see his game time at centre-forward reduced if Toney joined Arsenal, though the German would not be totally replaced as Arteta prefers to use him as an attacking midfielder when all players are fit.
If Arsenal opt to sign a different striker, then Toney could remain in West London by swapping Brentford for Chelsea.
Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino has publicly signalled his desire to land an elite striker this summer to help the club finally start converting all the chances being created by the likes of Cole Palmer, Christopher Nkunku and Raheem Sterling.
Chelsea’s top striker target is Napoli star Victor Osimhen, while TEAMtalk has also revealed that RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko is on Pochettino’s radar.
However, Osimhen will cost a huge £111m after he penned a new contract in Naples, while Sesko is only 20 years old and is therefore still developing. As such, Toney could be the perfect in between.
Toney is an experienced marksman at Premier League level who has shown he can cause elite defenders all sorts of issues. And Brentford will consider selling him if an £80m bid arrives, making Toney significantly cheaper than Osimhen.
Pochettino rates current striker Nicolas Jackson and thinks he has good potential for the future. While the former Villarreal man got on the scoresheet in the win against Aston Villa on Wednesday night, he should have done better than his record of nine goals in 25 appearances so far this season.
Toney moving to Stamford Bridge would prevent Jackson from starting for Chelsea on a regular basis. Although, the Senegalese could still learn from his more experienced striker counterpart and continue his development.
3. Man Utd
Man Utd signed Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta last summer in a deal worth an initial £64m, plus an extra £8m in add-ons. Hojlund has begun to impress under Erik ten Hag recently following a slow start to life in England.
However, if the stars align for Man Utd to sign Toney and they feel he is worth the £80m fee, then it would not be a huge surprise to see him end up at Old Trafford.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has big plans for Man Utd now that he has become a part-owner of the club, and he wants to see the Red Devils get back to the summit of English and European football.
Due to this stance, the British billionaire will not hesitate to replace Hojlund with Toney if such an opportunity presents itself.
Ten Hag also has Anthony Martial in his squad, though the Frenchman is preparing to leave Man Utd on a free transfer after his contract expires on June 30.
Reports have put Tottenham in the mix to potentially land Toney, though they have not been as strongly linked as the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd.
ESPN pundit Steve Nicol thinks a move to Tottenham will be ‘the best destination’ for Toney, though such a transfer will largely depend on how Richarlison does in the final few months of the season.
Richarlison has been in fantastic form of late, having bagged nine goals in his last eight league matches. If the Brazil star continues that scoring run then Ange Postecoglou will be convinced that he does not need to land another top striker such as Toney.
But if Richarlison’s great form proves to just be a purple patch, and he goes back to performing like last season, then his place in the team will come under threat.
Postecoglou is determined to get Spurs in the battle for major silverware once again, and to do this he needs a goal-hungry forward leading his attack. Toney would certainly do this, but the ball is currently in Richarlison’s court.
Spurs skipper Son Heung-min performed very well at centre-forward in the first half of the season, but his starting spot would not come under threat through Toney’s arrival as he is also a world-class left winger.
5. Real Madrid
Real Madrid have never truly replaced Karim Benzema, with Carlo Ancelotti mainly relying on 33-year-old Joselu up front this term.
Joselu did well between September 2 and October 7, finding the back of the net five times in six La Liga appearances. But since then he has only managed two league strikes, demonstrating Madrid’s need for a new centre-forward who can form a deadly partnership with Jude Bellingham.
Madrid were surprisingly linked with a big-money swoop for Toney in the build up to the January window. And given the fact both players are England internationals, it would not take them long to strike up a close bond.
But Los Blancos would only move for a striker like Toney if they fail in their pursuit of Florentino Perez’s ultimate target, Kylian Mbappe. Recent reports have suggested Madrid are finally making progress on a deal for the France captain, after missing out on him several times in the past.
At this moment in time, Toney is one of several backup options for Madrid, but he would certainly oust Joselu if he did arrive in the Spanish capital.