Ivan Toney: Is he the answer to Arsenal’s attacking dilemma?

Talib Haider
By Talib Haider
6 Min Read

Ivan Toney might not have caught the eye if Brentford were not to get promoted from the Championship football.

But those are mere “what ifs” & “maybes” in football, which is part and parcel of the game. In truth, the 26-year-old English striker helped Thomas Frank’s side to earn their first top-flight promotion ever. Scoring a mammoth 31 goals and assisting another 10 in the 2020/21 Championship season, to help secure Brentford the all-important promotion in the Premier League, via playoffs.

Now, making his way into the Premier League many fans and pundits alike did not think that Toney could carry the same form into the top-flight English football. But he has somewhat outgrown his past performances, enjoying each game while it lasts, meanwhile reminiscing the football achievements he had bundled up. To be honest, he has faired pretty well under the circumstances and has been one of the most influential strikers in the League, for their side. In his debut Premier League campaign, Toney has already amassed 12 goals and 4 assists in just 27 games, adding that “oomph factor” to Thomas Frank’s side.

And it only gets better from here on in, for the English striker.

What makes Ivan Toney such a complete striker?

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Well, there are a couple of aspects that cannot be overlooked for when we talk about the Brentford striker. Firstly, his agility – he keeps fit, and the result is visible on the pitch with his quick, manoeuvring runs in behind the defenders. The second aspect of his game, and the one that he might take pride in, is his strength. Ivan Toney can run into spaces and drive the defenders away, to enable room for his teammates. But, when he does not get enough space to make his agile moves Toney has the ability to shrug the defenders off his back because of his upper-body strength.

One of the best examples of Ivan Toney using both of his skills to full potential in the same match, throughout the season, was against Liverpool. Brentford hosted Liverpool at the Brentford Community Stadium back in September, in the 21/22 Premier League campaign, and the match was a thriller- ending in a 3-all draw.

One of the most alluring sights for the home fans was, how Ivan Toney bullied Matip in the Liverpool defence. Although, he made the runs in behind Van Dijk, but the Dutch stood his ground for most of the game. The 2 centre-backs were not able to contain the 26-year-old Englishman, and that in turn led to him providing a crucial assist to his teammate Pinnock.

Should Arsenal go for him?

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One thing that is pretty clear is the fact that Ivan Toney offers so much to the side with his work rate and all the other abilities, and that too not for a lot! Last year the Sun reported his value to be around £35million, after an amazing Championship campaign. So, as to spend this kind of money for someone of Ivan Toney’s calibre, well, I have to say that it is a bargain.

Now, coming to the point if Arsenal should really push for Toney or not?! Pushing too hard for a player reflects your dire state of need for something or someone, and I do not think Arsenal are in that kind of a situation just yet. That being said, their captain-Aubameyang’s sudden departure to Barcelona has left a void in the attack, without a shadow of a doubt. It is true that the likes of Martinelli, Nketiah, etc. are coming to the fore to help Arteta with his attacking dilemmas, but it is just temporarily. It will take at least another year before the Gunners can start relying on their youth firepower.

Hence, someone like Toney could really be the player to turn to in such situations without having to spend too much out of the pocket. If Arteta wants to add a presence to link up with the likes of Lacazette and Saka upfront, then I think Tony is the go-to man. He could play as a Fox in the box, target man, false 9, second striker, or even as the Harry Kane-esque style of play- going deep and driving the play forward.

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