In a recent column on Sky Sports, pundit Paul Merson urged Arsenal to land Brentford forward Ivan Toney. Merson said,
“I’ve always said it from day one – Eddie Nketiah is not going to win you the Premier League. You need a proper centre forward.
“I’m not blaming Nketiah because they drew 2-2 with Tottenham but with 32 games to go and all the Champions League games they have to play, I don’t think he takes them to the next level. I don’t even think Gabriel Jesus takes them to the next level.”
“It’s alright sitting there and thinking: ‘they need a centre forward’ – but who is there? Only Ivan Toney is available for them in January – there aren’t many centre forwards around in the world. They’re a dying breed.”
Toney’s Excellent Record At Brentford Last Season
Toney enjoyed a great campaign at Brentford recently but has been suspended through sports court – cross competition until January 17, 2024. The English striker banged in 21 goals and grabbed five assists in 35 matches for the Bees last season across all fronts.
The 27-year-old gave a good account of himself and deserves credit for averaging 2.8 shots, 0.8 key passes and 0.5 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Premier League. However, he lacked quality when linking up with his teammates in the final third after making only 62% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).
Should Arsenal Boss Mikel Arteta Move In For Toney?
Toney is a decent dribbler with the ball and excels at finding a yard of space for himself to get a few strikes in at goal. He has proven himself to be a capable goal-scorer in the Premier League and can even chip in by picking up a few important assists for his team. However, the English forward needs to work on improving his passing accuracy if he wants to taste success at the highest level.
The lack of a natural finisher has seen Arsenal lose ground at the top of the league standings recently. Hence, it makes sense for the Gunners to move in for someone with Toney’s skillset as he could go on to become a consistent goal-getter under the stewardship of Mikel Arteta over the next few years.