Arsenal have been linked with a surprise transfer move for Brentford striker Ivan Toney, per the Express.
The paper believe that the Gunners’ recruitment team have been incredibly impressed with the 24-year-old’s performances for the Championship side this season, where he has bagged 16 goals in 22 league encounters (transfermarkt).
With the success Brentford have had in turning relatively cheap punts into massive profit, Toney looks set to be the next on the list, but the club will be hoping he first helps guide them to the Premier League for the first time ever.
But with Mikel Arteta’s team rumoured to be circling, there’s every chance that Toney’s head may be turned at such interest.
Let’s look at three qualities that the former Newcastle man would bring to the Spaniard’s line-up – one that has struggled to find an out-and-out goalscorer this season.
You don’t become a regular goalscorer if you don’t possess good anticipation, and Toney just seems to have that knack of being in the right place at the right time.
Whether it’s making a darting run from a corner or manoeuvring himself in-front of a defender to get on the end of a cross in the six-yard box, Toney scores all types of goals but it’s his deadliness from close range and how he gets into those positions that makes him the top quality striker he is.
As evidenced by the fact both Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins have been free-scoring for Brentford in recent years, it’s clearly the system and players around them that bring out the best in whoever the Bees’ central striker is, but Toney’s reading of the game and where the ball is going to end up is Premier League-quality.
Arsenal fans are already used to seeing Alexandre Lacazette backing into players to try and bring others into the attack, but Toney is probably even stronger than Frenchman when it comes to link-up play.
Not only can it be played into his feet for him to then bring the likes of Josh Da Silva and Bryan Mbeumo into things, but he can also win flick-ons with his head, which then brings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s best asset of getting behind a defence into the equation.
Standing at nearly 6ft 2in, Toney will pose a threat to a lot of Premier League centre-backs in the air – aside from perhaps Brighton’s land of the giants in Webster, Dunk and Burn – but he is still most effective with the ball at his feet.
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A burst of pace
Toney doesn’t have Aubameyang-esque quickness, however for the size he is he can’t half shift when he wants to.
A lot of Premier League defenders will be of a much different quality and speed to what Toney is used to coming up against though, and it was extremely interesting to see him pit his wits against Tottenham last week, where Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier had to deal with him.
Toney gave a quick defender in Sanchez plenty to think about despite being on the losing end, and it could be a sign of things to come whether that is for Brentford if they are promoted, Arsenal or another Premier League team.