Paul Merson believes Mikel Arteta should 'sign Ivan Toney in January'

Ex-Arsenal star Paul Merson believes Mikel Arteta should ‘sign Ivan Toney in January’ and insists Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus ‘do not take the Gunners to the next level’

  • Paul Merson has claimed that Mikel Arteta should sign Ivan Toney in January  
  • It comes after Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Sunday 
  • Mail Sport’s new WhatsApp Channel: Get the breaking news and exclusives here

Paul Merson has expressed his ‘worry’ over Arsenal’s options in attack, claiming that Mikel Arteta’s side should sign Ivan Toney in January after insisting their current forwards, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus ‘do not take the Gunners to the next level.’

It comes after his former side were held to a 2-2 draw by Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby, with Son Heung-min scoring twice to cancel out an own goal from Cristian Romero and a second half penalty from Bukayo Saka. 

While the Gunners have aspirations to undo the heartache of last year’s Premier League season and clinch their first league title since 2004, Merson claimed that the his old side needed a ‘proper centre forward.’

‘I’ve always said it from day one – Eddie Nketiah is not going to win you the Premier League,’ Merson told Sky Sports. 

‘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.’

Ex-Arsenal and England man Paul Merson believes that the Gunners should sign Brentford’s star striker Ivan Toney (pictured) in January amid his concerns over their attacking options

Merson (pictured) spoke of his ‘worry’ when he saw Arsenal’s team sheet ahead of facing Spurs

Your browser does not support iframes.

Merson believes Nketiah (left) and Jesus (right) ‘are not able to take Arsenal to the next level’

The north London side are unbeaten this season but they’ve now fallen behind Manchester City in the title race, dropping points to London rivals Spurs and Fulham. 

Arteta opted to start a front three of Jesus, Nketiah and Saka on Sunday, but Merson claimed he was ‘worried’ when he saw his former side’s starting line-up, with Mail Sport’s IAN LADYMAN calling his tackle on Guglielmo Vicario during the match ‘disgusting’ and ‘as bad as he had ever seen’.

‘It wasn’t Arsenal’s strongest team but when you think about the Champions League and all the games they have to play, it looked a bit weak on Sunday, didn’t it?’ he added. 

‘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, 27, is currently serving an eight-month ban from all football activity after he pleaded guilty 232 of the 262 charges brought against him by the FA last year which related to the organisation’s rules on gambling. 

The Brentford striker is available to play again in January, but was pictured back at the Bees training ground in August, with the club reportedly having ‘received special dispensation from the FA to allow the player to return to their premises’.

And speaking on the limited numbers of centre-forwards available to Arsenal right now, Merson lauded Toney’s skillset before claiming that Arteta may have to sign him.   

‘Toney is a good player – he can hold the ball up, he’s good in the air. Arsenal might have to go for him. But there are not a million centre forwards around.’ 

After a fantastic season scoring 20 league goals for Thomas Frank’s side across 33 appearances, Toney has attracted the attention of many clubs around the Premier League, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham reportedly interested in the forward. 

Toney (left) is currently serving an eight month ban for pleading guilty to breaching FA rules on betting but has attracted the interest of several clubs following a prolific 2022-23 season

Mikel Arteta’s (pictured) side have dropped points on two occasions this season, conceding two draws to Fulham and Tottenham, falling to fifth in the table, four points off Man City

Toney also made his debut for England earlier this year in the Three Lions 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifying match against Ukraine. 

His current manager, Frank, admitted he understood why his striker was attracting a lot of interest, adding that Brentford could sell Toney so long as there was a suitable offer for him. 

‘I think every club in the world are a selling club except five or six clubs. We are a selling club, if the right price is there,’ Frank said. 

‘I think if it’s the right time for the player to go, from my perspective that’s not my decision that would be Phil [Giles, director of football] or Matthew [Benham, Brentford’s owner] in the end, then I think if they have developed well with us, been on the journey, and now they’re proven good enough to go to the top clubs, then I think it’s the right thing, if it’s the right price.’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

Your browser does not support iframes.

Source: Read Full Article