According to reports, Arsenal would have ‘almost certainly’ moved for Brentford’s Ivan Toney in the summer had he not been banned for betting offences.
Toney was one of the best strikers in the Premier League last season as he scored 20 goals in his 33 appearances for Brentford.
The England international missed the end of last season as he received an eight-month ban for numerous breaches of player betting rules.
The 27-year-old recently returned to training but he is not allowed to return to action in the Premier League or cup competitions until January 2024.
Toney may not play for Brentford again as it is being heavily reported that he is being targeted by several Premier League clubs.
Earlier this month, it was claimed that Chelsea are looking to finalise an early deal for Toney but they will face competition in the race to sign the forward.
The Mirror are reporting that ‘Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are likely to be in the mix’ for Toney and Brentford ‘will demand at least £60million for a player in January who will have just 18 months left on his contract’.
It is noted that Manchester United ‘would also have been interested last January but for the potential ban hanging over Toney’ and their ‘interest has waned’ following Rasmus Hojlund’s arrival. Regarding Arsenal‘s interest in the Bees striker, the report adds.
‘Arsenal would almost certainly have made a bid last summer had Toney not been banned. Even though Toney wound up Mikel Arteta with a social media post – “Nice kick about with the boys” after Brentford beat Arsenal a couple of years ago – the big No9 has admirers at the Emirates.
‘Toney provides a physical presence that you could argue Arsenal lack and it could also open up the chance to use him as a centre forward with the option to play Gabriel Jesus from the left.
‘Arsenal might also need a boost in their title challenge by January. It is obvious they need a more ruthless centre forward to give them more of a cutting edge.’
Brentford boss Thomas Frank has already admitted that they will sell Toney for the “right price”.
“I think every club in the world are a selling club except five or six clubs. We are a selling club, if the right price is there,” Frank said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“He scored 20 goals in the Premier League last year, in, of course, a very good Brentford side but of course we are not creating as many chances as the top six or seven teams.
“So imagine him in a top team, he’d easily score 20, 25 goals, for me. I think he’s composed, he’s a good finisher, top mentality, so I understand why clubs are looking at him.”