Reports by football.london earlier this week claimed Brentford are likely to demand around £30m for Ivan Toney, but West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan must take the “gamble” and beat Arsenal to signing the Championship sensation this summer.
The Hammers and Gunners are among an ever-growing kettle of vultures circling the Brentford Community Stadium with an eye on Toney’s situation, with interest continually building in the 24-year-old with each match-winning performance.
Toney is considered to be perhaps the most-scouted player throughout the second tier, such is the level of interest in his services, having scored more goals than any other player in the division so far this term with 25 in 33 games, along with providing nine assists.
Should West Ham pay £30m for Toney?
Yes, he’d be perfect
No, he isn’t good enough
Brentford are loath to losing such an important player for a third year in a row after parting with Neal Maupay in 2019 and Ollie Watkins in 2020, but are clear in their model that Toney will be the next to go for a profit so that they remain competitive in the Championship.
Maupay joined Brighton and Hove Albion for £20m after scoring 25 times in 43 second-tier appearances during his sole year under Thomas Frank, while Aston Villa paid a club-record £28m rising to £33m for Watkins after he fired home 25 goals in 46 league outings last term.
Promotion into the Premier League this season would see the Bees’ position altered and only the promise of an obscene amount of money would be enough to sign Toney, who will otherwise be available for close to £30m in the summer.
talkSPORT pundit Danny Murphy has suggested that West Ham going out and spending big in the off-season to land Toney would be a risk he would not take, as the Northampton-born frontman is too unproven after a year with Brentford.
“Toney is unproven. It would be a lot to shell out on a man who hasn’t scored in any top-flight,” Murphy said, via quotes shared by HITC, last month. “I wouldn’t be taking that gamble.
“Watkins is a good example but there are probably lots of examples of players who’ve come from the Championship who haven’t done what Watkins has done.”
Toney should be being backed to go on and hit the Premier League with the same gusto as Watkins if promoted with Brentford or if he seals a top-flight transfer this summer, which West Ham co-owner and chairman Sullivan should be doing all he can to seal if the Bees’ push falls short.
While Murphy is reluctant to offer much hype, former Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent has not been short in coming forward with praise for Toney.
“He’s good in the air and he has two good feet. But where I think he excels to an Ollie Watkins and a Maupay is that I think he’s more clinical. In and around that box with his finishing. I think he’s more cultured to his finishing,” Bent told talkSPORT in January.
“He has got more to his game and there are different types of finishes. Whereas Watkins is a very, very good player and he might say that he’s a little bit better than him all round. But in and around the goal if I give them both an opportunity to score a goal then I fancy Ivan Toney.”
If Toney goes on to be a better Premier League striker than Watkins is proving to be, Sullivan would rue the day he passed up on a deal – even at £30m – in his and David Moyes’ quest to land a replacement for Sebastien Haller this summer.
Haller was a costly failure, having been signed for a club-record £45m but sold in January for just £20.2m after 10 goals in 48 Premier League games, but could be long-forgotten if Toney is firing in goals left, right and centre at the London Stadium next season.