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Arsenal attack red-hot in 2024… but is goal-mad run a fluke or should Arteta forget Toney and strengthen elsewhere?

ARSENAL’S form in front of goal in 2024 has been nothing short of spectacular.

During a run of seven successive Premier League wins, 31 goals have been scored – an average of almost 4.5 goals per game.

Arsenal have been on fire in front of goal in recent weeks

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Arsenal have been on fire in front of goal in recent weeksCredit: Getty
Ivan Toney has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates

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Ivan Toney has been heavily linked with a move to the EmiratesCredit: Reuters

Their current league tally stands at 68 – the most in the division and the most the Gunners have ever had at this stage of a campaign in the Premier League era.

And yet, less than three months ago, boss Mikel Arteta was under serious pressure to finally splash out on an elite No9 to take the North London club to the next level.

Concerns over FFP – having made a loss of £52m in the 2022/23 financial year – ultimately had Arteta’s hands tied in that respect.

One Premier League win in four over the Christmas period – scoring just four times in the process – fuelled the doubters further, yet Arteta had faith in his wider squad to produce in 2024.

Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard, Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard have all stood up in that time, nabbing 22 goals between them since January 1.

In contrast, Arsenal’s most identifiable frontman in Gabriel Jesus has scored just four Premier League goals this season, starting only 13 times due to reoccurring knee injuries.

So, where do Arsenal stand on recruiting a striker this summer? Sporting director Edu spoke in February of the club’s preparations in getting business done early when the window opens on June 14.

The Brazilian said: “I understand what the fans are asking for but we already have our targets.

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“We have planned ahead of what we’re going to face. I will be worried if we don’t score a lot of goals and if we’re not creating chances.

“It is the opposite because we are creating a lot and scoring a lot of goals. The plan is to try to get better every year. We are in a good moment. Let’s see if we can keep improving.”

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IS IVAN TONEY THE ANSWER?

Brentford’s Ivan Toney appears to the fan favourite to lead the line at Arsenal next season, and will grace the Emirates turf on Saturday for the Bees in their Premier League clash.

The Gunners were very interested in the England striker, 27, back in January and enquired about his availability following his return from an eight-month betting ban.

No bid was made, and there were two stumbling blocks in that respect. Firstly, Brentford were demanding at least £80m up front with up to £20m in add-ons.

Arsenal’s financial situation meant they were never going to match that, while they also had in mind the £27m they still owe Brentford for the loan-to-buy deal for keeper David Raya.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank has admitted Toney will leave in the summer, but suggests the West Londoners will demand a record-tumbling fee for him.

Toney will certainly be on Arsenal’s list come the summer, which is believed to not be a long one. There will be money to spend, especially after a season in the Champions League.

However, SunSport understands it is not a forgone conclusion that a bid for Toney will be made.

There is no guarantee Arsenal will blow a huge chunk of their summer kitty on the player, despite their admiration for him, with other targets in different areas also being considered.

There is a recognition that a winger is needed to provide cover and competition, while another midfielder and an additional centre back could also be brought in.

And let’s not forget the goalkeeper position, with current No2 Aaron Ramsdale likely to ask to leave in the coming months having been usurped by Raya.

Mikel Arteta has a lot to ponder when it comes to his summer transfer plans

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Mikel Arteta has a lot to ponder when it comes to his summer transfer plansCredit: Rex

SCOUTING FOR ALTERNATIVES

Arsenal’s scouts have been busy over the past few months, in particular looking at strikers across Europe’s biggest leagues.

Sporting Lisbon star Viktor Gyokeres has been watched on several occasions, most recently last week during Sporting’s 2-1 win over Benfica in which the 25-year-old Swede scored.

The former Brighton and Coventry forward currently has 31 goals in 36 games in all competitions this season. There is a belief Sporting could be persuaded to accept a fee less than his £87m release clause, as they have done with big departures in the past.

He may not be the club’s first choice to bring in, but he is certainly an alternative that could be seen as better value for money, one that could be rotated in and out of the starting XI.

RB Leipzig duo Xavi Simons and Benjamin Sesko, both 20, have also been scouted. Sesko is believed to have a £42m release clause, while Simons is on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.

But given Arsenal’s recent form, after midfielder Declan Rice insisted  this week they do NOT need a No9 to be successful, Arteta could turn his attention to a winger instead.

Wolves’ Pedro Neto, 23, is one of their top targets, despite the Portuguese star’s injury record. His two goals and nine assists so far have also caught the eye of Liverpool.

Neto is understood to have an £80m valuation, with Wolves under less pressure to sell having dodged FFP charges with several key sales last summer.

EDDIE NKETIAH’S FUTURE

Arsenal will likely raise funds from several players this summer, such as keeper Ramsdale – who is linked to Chelsea and Newcastle.

However, back-up striker Eddie Nketiah could be out the door too having dramatically fallen down the pecking order under Arteta this season.

Last campaign, during Arsenal’s title run-in and Jesus’ time on the sidelines, Nketiah stepped up, scoring seven goals in all competitions between November and January.

However, it seems the 24-year-old is now not trusted to even be an impact player off the bench, with Havertz and Trossard preferred options.

Nketiah has not started a game in all competitions since December 31, and has played just 79 minutes of football in the Prem since then.

An unused sub with Arsenal 5-0 up at half-time away at Sheffield United on Monday night, Nketiah cut a downbeat figure leaving the stadium.

With three years left on his deal, Arsenal will demand a sizeable fee that could go towards a replacement. The next few weeks could prove crucial in making Nketiah’s mind up.

ARSENAL NEWS LIVE: Stay up to date with all the latest transfer news from the Emirates

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