Arsenal legend voices concern over Toney transfer pursuit

Stuart Telford
Ivan Toney with Arsenal badge
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Arsenal have been linked with a move for Brentford striker Ivan Toney, but former Gunners star Bacary Sagna thinks they could be making a mistake.

Toney and Arsenal could seem like the perfect fit.

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The Gunners have lacked a bona fide No.9 this season with midfielders Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard proving their most potent attacking assets, while Toney struck 20 goals in 33 Premier League outings last term.

But Brentford are demanding in the region of £80 million for their star striker, especially as they are embroiled in a relegation dog-fight with Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa away on Africa Cup of Nations Duty.

Toney is also only just back from an eight-month suspension for gambling offences, and Sagna has urged caution.

Sagna’s concern

“I like Ivan Toney; I think he’s a very talented player,” he told The Mirror’s Josh O’Brien. “[But] it’ll be interesting to see how he comes back after missing the first half of the season through suspension.

“How will he be able to deal with the physicality of the Premier League after a six-month absence? I know he’s been training, but training and playing in competitive games are very, very different. That would be my only concern if Arsenal were looking at signing him.”

Toney is valued at €25.7m (£22m) by FootballTransfers’ in-house algorithm – down from his career high of €36.5m (£31.4m) at the height of his goalscoring exploits last season – but Brentford’s on-field wobbles and off-field financial health means they can dig their heels in.

Chelsea have also been credited with an interest in Toney, but FFP restrictions mean that they are unlikely to be able to meet Brentford’s asking price in the winter transfer window.

Sagna still thinks his old club should make a move once his price comes down.

“He definitely has the quality,” he said. “He’s a top striker who is strong, holds the ball up well and can score goals. Of course, he has the profile that would be good for Arsenal.”

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