Thomas Frank has conceded for the first time that Brentford will be powerless to prevent Ivan Toney departing the club this summer – with the Bees manager effectively giving his permission for one of Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea to sign the striker.
Toney has recently returned to action from a long eight-month suspension imposed by the FA for a breach of their betting rules. And in an effort to make up for lost time, the one-time capped England striker already has two goals from three appearances since returning to the Brentford line-up.
During his absence, demand to sign the striker went through the roof, and rarely has there been an example of a player forced to sit so long on the sidelines and seeing his stock rise so dramatically.
Nonetheless, Toney’s reputation is certainly deserved with the 27-year-old having scored an impressive 34 goals from 68 Premier League outings since the Bees secured promotion back in 2021.
And with his deal at the Gtech Community Stadium expiring in summer 2025, the Bees know it is probably a question of when, not if their talismanic frontman departs.
TEAMtalk sources revealed the Bees do still hope to tie down Toney to a new deal, though talks around any new deal are likely to be depend on the striker securing some sort of exit clause built into the new arrangement.
Either way, a summer switch across the Premier League now looks increasingly likely for the striker, with those chances of a move given a major boost by Frank himself who has admitted for the first time that he expects his side to lose the star and also teasing how it “would be fun” to see Toney scoring goals for another side.
Thomas Frank admits Ivan Toney is to leave Brentford
With Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all targeting a new striker this summer, a scramble is set to ensue over Toney, with Frank effectively giving the trio any move his blessing.
“It is relatively obvious that Ivan Toney will probably be sold this summer,” Frank told the Danish media via Tipsbladet.
“We also know what he is worth. I don’t think there are many strikers in the world who are better than him right now.
“He is a really skilled striker who is in his prime football age. Personally, as a coach, I would prefer to keep Toney but one day it could be fun to see him on a top team.”
Despite links to three Premier League giants, Frank insists the Bees did not receive one bid for their talismanic striker during the January window.
That may have had something to do with Brentford’s minimum £80m demand, though a summer switch now looks more likely.
“This winter, we actually had no offers for him, but it will surprise me if there aren’t a lot of clubs that will be interested in him,” added the Dane.
Toney himself has admitted his desire to try his luck at a higher level, revealing just last month to Sky Sports: “You can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere but I think it’s obvious I want to play for a top club.
“Everybody wants to play for a top club that is fighting for titles. Whether it’s this January that is the right time for a club to come in and pay the right money, who knows?
“But my main focus is to do what I do on the pitch, and let the background work take care of itself.”
Man Utd favourites for striker swoop
Toney has aspirations of making the cut for Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championships this summer and has made clear his wish to compete with Harry Kane for the role as the Three Lions’ No 9.
“To be the best, you have to play with the best and compete against the best,” he continued. “We all know Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and he’s been doing it for some years now.
“If I want to be England’s No 1, then I have to compete against him. He’s not a bad striker to be taking tips off and be training with.
“I just have to keep scoring goals, keep playing well and then who knows what could happen? If I just fall short, then hopefully I can become the second best in the world.”
Quite where the striker ends up is anyone’s guess, but there is a growing school of thought that claims it is Manchester United who could actually win the race.
The Red Devils are ready for a major summer rebuild under new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe and it’s reported the British billionaire is determined to bring the 162-goal marksman to the club as a replacement for Anthony Martial.
While United have rediscovered their scoring touch in recent weeks, a lack of goals over the course of the campaign has undermined their quest to secure a second-successive top-four finish.
And with an £80m fee on his head, they are potentially better placed than Arsenal to push through a deal, while his other suitors, Chelsea, will reportedly put their focus into a deal for Victor Osimhen instead.