Arsenal eye Gimenez as Toney alternative; ‘loved’ fan favourite a ‘candidate’ to be sold to fund move

Jason Soutar
Arsenal are interested in signing Ivan Toney or Santiago Gimenez.
Arsenal are interested in signing Ivan Toney or Santiago Gimenez.

Arsenal have ‘scouted’ Feyenoord striker Santiago Gimenez and could pursue him if they are priced out a move for Brentford’s Ivan Toney, according to reports.

Toney is suspended until January after breaking the Football Association’s gambling rules.

The England striker has recently changed agents with the view of a transfer next year. Chelsea and Arsenal are the two clubs believed to be leading the race.

Out of contract in 2025, Brentford may feel forced to sell at the end of the season to avoid losing their talisman for nothing. Their asking price is believed to be north of £70million.

This is a huge amount of money to pay and Arsenal will need to offload one or two fringe players if they want to make Toney their marquee signing next summer, so they can stay within Financial Fair Play limits.

This is according to The Times, who says Gimenez is a potential alternative to the 27-year-old striker.

This report says Arsenal will have to pay around £80m if they want to land Toney as the Bees are ‘reluctant’ to sell their best player.

Linked with Manchester United and Tottenham this year, Gimenez – who has scored 34 goals for Feyenoord since the start of last season – has been ‘scouted’ by the Gunners, who would need to sell fringe players if they sign Toney or the Mexico international.

‘The obvious candidates’ to be sold are Hale End graduates Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson, the report claims.

All three players are expected to play against Brentford in the Carabao Cup this evening and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said Smith Rowe must take his chance having not started a game in 499 days.

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Chelsea were keen on signing the 23-year-old in the summer but were put off by the Gunners’ asking price, signing Cole Palmer from Manchester City instead.

Smith Rowe is a fan favourite at the Emirates and fans will be gutted to see him leave, even if he is finding game time very hard to come by.

“He is incredibly popular,” Arteta told reporters this week. “We all love him.

“It’s no different what the people feel and what we feel about him, but one thing is to be there, the other one is to start and then once you start, you are consistent to stay there and you have to stay fit as well.

“Obviously we speak with our players & we try to explain the reason why we make certain decisions, but he’s clear on what he needs to do – which is performing on the pitch and giving the best to win games for us.

“He needs to prove it like anybody else on the field that he deserves to play,” Arteta added.

“He is clear on what he needs to do. He needs to perform on the pitch, give his best and win games for us.

“He was out for a long, long time. In the past two matches he has played more minutes and tomorrow [against Brentford] he will have a big chance to show that he can play at this level and be a really important player for us.”

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