Arsenal are reported to be close to cashing in on the sale of Hale End graduate Folarin Balogun, leaving questions over whether Mikel Arteta will eye another striker.
The Spaniard has already signed versatile forward Kai Havertz this summer in attack, however with Gabriel Jesus only just nearing his return from injury, the Gunners have had to rely on Eddie Nketiah to lead the line so far this campaign.
Arteta has utilised Havertz in midfield at the Emirates, which is a plus for the German who excelled in such areas while at Bayer Leverkusen, however theoretically leaves Arsenal short in the depth of their strike department.
Who could Arsenal sign this summer?
Considering the injury blow to Jurrien Timber, it’s highly unlikely that the north Londoners will prioritise anything above signing a defender in the time remaining in the transfer window.
However, a swoop in January could come at the perfect time for one player that has been rumoured to be of interest to the Gunners.
A report from the Times has revealed that Brentford are braced for bids in the attempt to sign striker Ivan Toney in January, with Arsenal named as one of the ‘interested parties’.
The Englishman will be able to return to action in January 2024 from his eight-month ban from football due to betting breaches of the FA’s rulings, setting up a potentially exciting swoop for the north Londoners in the winter window.
It’s said that the forward is valued at £80m by the Bees, who will be reluctant to let the 27-year-old leave when he returns.
What could Ivan Toney offer to Arsenal?
Most clubs in the Premier League would be honoured to have a marksman as potent as Toney in their squad, not many more than Arsenal who are arguably a reliable goalscorer away from being in the same calibre as Manchester City.
Considering Balogun’s transfer status, it could be the ideal time for Arteta to consider a potential move for Toney, who revealed on the Diary of a CEO podcast his admiration for the Gunners.
In Balogun, the north Londoners could have had more potent goalscorer than the likes of Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus, with the American netting 21 times in Ligue 1 last season during his loan at Rennes.
On his return, it never seemed as though the 22-year-old’s future would be within Arteta’s squad, making the opportunity to cash in on him an attractive prospect for both parties.
While the Hale End graduates’ scoring streak was impressive, it was the first time he had consistently found the net at senior level, with his three goals scored on loan at Middlesbrough the season prior far from impressive.
In Toney, Arsenal could have the definition of an “extremely prolific” striker, as he was once lauded by talent scout Jacek Kulig.
Scoring 24 goals in his final campaign in League One at Peterborough before joining Brentford, where he then scored 31 goals in the Championship to fire the Bees to promotion, via Transfermarkt, there were naturally questions over whether he could do it in the top-flight.
During the two campaigns since Brentford’s promotion, the Englishman has scored on 32 occasions in the Premier League, including 20 goals last term, seeing him dubbed a “lion” by manager Thomas Frank in 2021.
Arsenal could ease the woes of Balogun’s departure by making a swift move for Toney in January, in a purchase that could make Arteta’s side forget all about the Hale End product and close the gap on City.
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