Brentford boss Thomas Frank thinks it is “natural” for a striker of Ivan Toney’s ability to dream of playing for a top club as speculation about his future begins to grow.
The 27-year-old, who is currently serving an eight-month suspension for breaching betting rules, has changed agents to join CAA Stellar, which represents the likes of Jack Grealish and Gareth Bale.
In an interview with the Diary of a CEO podcast this week Toney spoke of his ambition, and his admiration for Arsenal, saying: “I think that everybody wants to play at the top of the tree.
“Not that Brentford aren’t there, but I feel like playing for a big club, fighting for trophies, these kind of things, everybody wants to do.
“If the chance was to come along, I think I would be silly not to look more into it.”
When Toney’s ban expires on January 16 he will have 18 months left on his Brentford contract and that could spark more transfer interest but Frank is relaxed about the situation.
“He has been attracting attention for a long time. It is normal. He is one of the best strikers in the world,” Frank told his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace.
The Brentford boss has not watched Toney’s interview but said his comments were “natural”.
Frank has lost two more players from his squad with Josh Dasilva and Shandon Baptiste both set for lengthy absences.
But they have made the surprise re-signing of 29-year-old forward Saman Ghoddos, who only left the club in the summer.
“I’m pretty sure nobody expected Saman to be back at Brentford this summer,” said director of football Phil Giles.
“We had an option to keep Saman with us this season but elected not to exercise that option because we were unable to offer Saman the minutes he wanted or deserved this year.
“However, sometimes things change, and we are now in a position to be able to offer him a contract for this season.”
That is unlikely to offset the absences of midfielders Dasilva and Baptiste, however.
“A hamstring injury will keep Josh out for a while, and Shandon dislocated his shoulder in training,” Frank confirmed on Friday.
On Dasilva, who missed most of Brentford’s 2021-22 season with a hip injury, Frank said: “It’s tough. Injuries are the worst thing that can happen to players in many ways.
“I feel for him because he’s been working so hard to come back to his normal level, but there are setbacks in football and in life and how you deal with these setbacks is what defines you as a person.
“Josh will fight back; he will come back. Right now, the main focus for us is to support Josh and get him healthy, fresh, fit and available again.”
Defender Ben Mee is edging his way back to full fitness from a calf injury but will not be ready for the weekend.
“He is such an important player for us, he’s been so good for us, so we don’t want to rush it,” said Frank.
“He’s been training hard today, and he’ll most likely start on Tuesday against Newport (in the Carabao Cup).”