‘Are they ready?’ – Keown questions Arsenal team’s ability as £80m target earns Haaland comparison

Jason Soutar
Ivan Toney has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal.
Ivan Toney has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal.

Martin Keown has questioned whether or not Arsenal are “ready” to have a striker like Ivan Toney lead the line for them.

Arsenal are one of the clubs believed to be interested in signing the Brentford and England striker in 2024.

The 27-year-old is currently suspended until January after being found guilty of breaching the FA’s gambling rules.

He has been incredible for the Bees since their promotion to the Premier League in 2021, netting 32 goals in 68 top-flight appearances.

Toney recently changed agents with the view of a transfer away from Brentford next year and Chelsea are also believed to be keen.

Gabriel Jesus has been very impressive for Arsenal since joining from Manchester City last year but the Brazilian does seem to lack that killer instinct up top, something the Cityzens have not struggled with after buying Erling Haaland in the same summer window.

Toney is a ruthless striker and has proved he can be a great Premier League striker and Gunners legend Ian Wright – who knows a thing or two about scoring goals – claimed this week that the England star would be the final piece of Mikel Arteta’s puzzle.

Former Arsenal defender Keown discussed Wright’s comments on talkSPORT, claiming that Toney’s play style is similar to Haaland’s.

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With Haaland in Pep Guardiola’s system, the Norwegian striker is not really involved in the build-up play, which the European champions get away with thanks to their incredible midfield and wide players.

Keown is unsure about Arsenal’s ability to have a player like this in the squad, but he does insist Toney is a “prolific” player in front of goal.

“If we compare Ivan to Haaland and what Haaland does in that team… Man City, because they’re so strong everywhere else, have been able to take that player out of the top of the team,” Keown stated.

“They’ve played with a false nine for many years, two or three seasons where they could integrate that player who drops from a high position into midfield to give them the control they needed.

“Once they secured that midfield with Gundogan, De Bruyne and Rodri, they said ‘okay let’s bring that striker in’.

“It’s whether Arsenal are ready for that.

“Gabriel Jesus, when he’s playing striker, we see him at left-back and all over the pitch because it’s more of a collective effort.

“Maybe he has to do that because in the past the team hasn’t been strong enough defensively, so it’s where the team is.

“But I get it because Toney is a prolific goalscorer.”

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