Could Arsenal beat Chelsea to snatch Toney from Brentford for just £60m?

If ever there was an award given for best Photoshop, this ain’t it…

Amid ongoing concerns around Gabriel Jesus’s fitness and Eddie Nketiah’s levels, enquiring minds tend to stray. One of the targets to which they’re drawn, like moths to a flame, is Brentford’s Ivan Toney, scorer of 35 league goals in the last two seasons. That tally might have risen even further but for his 18-month ban for gambling, set to expire in mid-January, and I promise that you that I won’t be making any clever puns on that situation. Suffice it to say that we’ve registered interest and that Brenford must surely be sizing up options.

First, the good news. The recent form of Cole Palmer and Nico Jackson for Chelsea might suggest that even Todd Boehly could be dissuaded from bidding on Toney. Like any infant, one could waggle a set of housekeys in front of the American to distract him. “Look, Toddy! Look at the shiny Palmer! He scored! [imagine the sound of keys clinking…].” If we can keep him distracted long enough, we can at least consider prising Toney away for something less than £100m.

Now, the bad news. Toney, of course, hasn’t played a minute of competitive football since 6 May 2023, meaning that he’s missed 15 matches. What kind of shape would he be in when his ban ends on or around 17 January 2024? Then again, is that bad news? We could very easily make the claim to Brentford that a player so far from match fitness isn’t worth nearly what they value him at.

Thomas Frank suggested that £100m would be a fair fee, given what’s been spent by various clubs on players who play further from goal than Toney [cough]. He has a point; Prem-worthy goal-scorers usually command a pretty penny. The question then comes down to Toney’s value. Yes, he’s shown that he can find the back of the net consistently, but can he do so when it really matters? Short answer: yes. Longer ansers: he’s no flat-track bully. During the 2022-23 season, before his ban, he came up with two assists in a 4-0 drubbing of Man U, a goal away to Newcastle (back when that meant something…), a brace at home against Brighton, another brace at the Etihad (!), a point-earning goal away against the Arsenal, and another goal at home against Newcastle. That’s a decent record for a smaller side againt the bigger ones.

Having said all that, we keep coming back to the particulars. Toney hasn’t played a competitive minute since 6 May 2003. He won’t playe a competitive minute until late January 2024. That’s eight months, give or take. On one hand, that undercuts Frank’s £100m valuation. On the other, that undercuts our ambition. How long would it take for Toney to approach or at least approximate the levels he’d reached before his ban?

‘Twixt the two, the two clubs could find some kind of accommodation. Would £60m and Nketiah—to name just one makeweight—turn Brentford’s head? Nketiah’s no slouch, but he’s clearly not up to the fogging standards. Brentford are scoring around 1.58 goals per game this season, roughly the same as last, suggesting that they’ve transitioned away from Toney’s tally. Such a swap could be a match made in heaven—we get a Prem-proven scorer who needs time to re-acclimate; Brentford get a striker determined to prove that he’s Prem-proven…

As long as we can keep Chelsea out of the equation, this is one rumour that has some legs. A lot can happen between now and the closing of the January window.

What say you? How much should Arsenal pony up to sign Toney? Share your two cents in the comments-section below…

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5 thoughts on “Could Arsenal beat Chelsea to snatch Toney from Brentford for just £60m?

  1. Ciara Gavin

    I think we weakened our bargaining power emmen we handed over 65 mill for Havertz. Inconceivable that Toney would cost less so the 100 looks like a solid ask.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I still hold onto hope that Havertz will justify that fee & wages. Dwindling hope, but hope all the same.

      Toney feels like a big reach unless he starts pushing for the move himself. Thomas Frank feels like a sane manager who wouldn’t stand in the way (after all, they have gone without Toney for almost 8 months now).

  2. Jax

    Wishful thinking. I don’t see Toney at less than £100 mil, and probably more. Good English strikers are like gold dust.

  3. A Simple Truth

    there’s no way we will be handing over 100M to Brentford for this particular Striker…he’s saying all the right things, which gives the club considerable leverage, not to mention that aforementioned “English” transfer bump that always complicates matters….let’s face it, Toney has a current market value of 35M, which interestingly is the same amount that we stupidly paid for the lightwweight Vieira, so the very notion of us paying almost 3 times his CMV for a player coming out of the sin bin, seems too ludicrous of a notion even for us…this is a nothing burger of a story and will continue to be until the window closes…if Edu et al were smart they would get ahead of this narrative and simply state that the club has no interest in pursuing this particular player before it takes on an unhealthy life of it’s own


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