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Arsenal target Ivan Toney has indicated he is ready to leave Brentford to seal a move to a top Premier League club with Chelsea and Tottenham also in the race. But the west London club have insisted he will only be allowed to depart if their asking price is met, with the Gunners facing shelling out a huge fee if they are to sign the England international in January.
Toney is prepared to leave Brentford as soon as the winter transfer window as he bids to mark his return to football in style after spending eight months on the sidelines. The Bees frontman already returned to team training on Monday for the first time since being banned from all football-related activity in May, after it was found he had breached FA betting regulations.
In a discussion with boss Thomas Frank to talk about his future, Toney is understood to have respectfully outlined his desire to make the next step in his career and the Bees are willing to comply. Until they receive an offer, though, he is committed to playing for Brentford.
Toney has recently hired new representation, the world-renowned agency CAA Stellar led by Gareth Bale and Wayne Rooney’s agent Jonathan Barnett, to take care of his next move. And more recently, in a conversation on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Toney addressed the speculation surrounding him.
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“I don’t let this all affect me. Obviously, it will go on in the background but my job is to keep training well when I get the chance. In the games, keep scoring and doing well but I think that everybody wants to play at the top of the tree.
“Not that Brentford aren’t there, but I feel like playing for a big club, fighting for trophies, these kind of things, everybody wants to do. If the chance was to come along, I think I would be silly not to look more into it.”
The Mirror report that Brentford have set their sights on a specific fee and will not sell unless any club meets their demands. However, they are well aware the 27-year-old is due to enter the final 18 months of his current deal in January and are prepared to sell if they receive a £60million bid for the striker, which would give them a massive profit on the £10m they paid Peterborough three years ago.
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Chelsea are short of goals and could potentially rival Arsenal for his signature, while Tottenham may use some of the funds from Harry Kane’s sale to make their own bid. With Toney entering the peak years of his career and off the back of his eight-month ban, he is desperate to play at the highest level.
Mikel Arteta is still keen to sign a proven goalscorer, as well as adding a ‘physical presence’ to his frontline with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah struggling for goals this season. Toney ticks both boxes, with 20 goals in the Premier League last season and one of the most feared aerial marksmen in the top flight.
Arsenal are long-term admirers of the Newcastle trainee and might have pushed to sign him in the summer had Toney not been banned. But now that he is only three months away from a return to action, they appear to be stepping up their pursuit in anticipation of a three-way fight with their London rivals.
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