Paul Merson backs Postecoglou to help Tottenham barge Arsenal aside for elite £60m Prem star in January

Paul Merson Sky Sports pundit - pic via Sky Sports

Paul Merson Sky Sports pundit - pic via Sky Sports

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson reckons Tottenham are the favourites ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea in the heated race to sign Brentford striker Ivan Toney in January.

The 27-year-old striker has proved himself one of the Premier League’s elite marksmen in recent times, scoring 35 goals across 72 appearances since Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League. That form has earned Toney a reputation as one of the best penalty takers in the business, while also earning a long overdue England cap with his debut coming in a 2-0 win over Ukraine in March.

However, Toney’s progress – and subsequent hopes of making England’s squad for the 2024 European Championships – have been badly hampered by an eight-month suspension imposed by the FA for a breach of their gambling regulations.

That has left Thomas Frank’s side looking light in attack and they have lacked a bit of a cutting edge in games played so far this season.

However, with Toney due to return from his ban in January, his time as a Brentford player might be soon set to run its natural course anyway.

With just 18 months left on his deal by then, Frank has admitted that Brentford will be forced to consider offers for the star by then.

As a result, Toney has been strongly linked with moves across London with Chelsea and Arsenal both among his suitors.

Indeed, Toney himself has named the Gunners or Liverpool as his dream next club.

However, with his price likely to be set at around £60m, Merson reckons it is Tottenham who could move in and win the race for a striker who has 160 goals to his name throughout his career.

READ MORESource details thrilling Postecoglou plan to sign 160-goal Harry Kane replacement in January window

Merson backs Tottenham to sign Ivan Toney in January

Merson said on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday programme (1:26pm, September 23, 2023) that he thinks Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou would be the ideal manager to take Toney’s game to the next level and help catapult him into England’s Euro 2024 squad.

And while he thinks competition for Toney will be tough, he reckons Spurs can win the transfer race: “If Tottenham are in the top four, they have got to have a go [at signing Toney].

“They have got to have a go. But it all depends on where they are in the table.”

Alasdair Gold, meanwhile, also believes Tottenham will make a big play for the Brentford hitman when the January window opens.

“There’s certainly interest in the striker as there will be from plenty of clubs,” Gold said in a Q&A on Football.London recently.

“I’d imagine Spurs are among those having a proper look in January. Toney returns from his ban against them so they’ll get a very close up look!”

Merson, however, has previously explained why a striker like Toney could prove the missing link for Arsenal.

“If I was Arsenal, I would take him,” Merson said. “He suits them down to the ground. Sometimes, you cannot go long with [Gabriel] Jesus, but you can go long with Toney. He is good in the air; he has got a very good brain. He can see a picture.

“He is not Harry Kane, but he can do a Harry Kane-type job where he can come off the centre-halves and he can pass through and he is tidy.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea are also expected to make a solid play for the player in January with TEAMtalk revealing Toney tops Pochettino’s four-man list of transfer targets.