Arsenal fall behind Chelsea in race for Ivan Toney
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Ivan Toney

Arsenal have lost ground in the race to sign Brentford striker Ivan Toney with the Telegraph revealing that he is likelier to join Chelsea now.

Brentford star Toney will be free to play top-flight football once again when his eight-month ban comes to an end in January. The England international has been attracting interest from top sides in the Premier League despite being banned since the 2022-23 season.

Toney is expected to remain in London, as his major admirers are based in the city. The 27-year-old striker has caught the eye of London’s biggest sides, Arsenal and Chelsea, who are in need of a new striker.

Chelsea splashed the cash once more this summer but avoided spending big on a striker following their experience with £97.5 million man Romelu Lukaku. The Blues spent a modest £32 million on 22-year-old Senegalese striker Nicolas Jackson, whose goalscoring does not look up to scratch yet.

The former Villarreal man has scored seven times across all competitions already for his new side, a decent return. In spite of this, many at the club believe that a more reliable goalscorer ought to be targeted in 2024. This is coupled with the fact that Jackson will be on AFCON duty with Senegal in January and February.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have the budget to sign a new striker, with Toney and Napoli ace Victor Osimhen their primary targets. Neither man is going to come cheap, considering the inflated transfer market of recent years, with reports suggesting it will take around £100m to land Toney.

Chelsea favourites

Arsenal have also indicated their interest in signing Toney, but the figure quoted by Brentford will be enough to make them baulk. The Gunners are known for their conservative spending in January, with only around £60 million of their total £600 million spend under Mikel Arteta coming in January.

Moreso, the Gunners already spent over £200 million on Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber in the summer. They do not have the bottomless pit of money compared to Chelsea, so the report suggests the Blues are favourites to land the hitman.

There are many question marks around any potential deal for Ivan Toney because of certain bottlenecks. The striker has not played any competitive football in eight months, and his suitors will be wary of the rust he may have collected.

Brentford will look to extract maximum value from the transfer that will enable them dive back into the market for an able replacement. They will already lose both Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa to the AFCON in January, and need someone who can immediately make an impact.

The Ivan Toney saga is one to look out for in the January window, as he has a good chance of leaving the Gtech Community Stadium in the winter.



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