With the January transfer window drawing to a close, it seems Brentford striker Ivan Toney will have to wait until the summer before setting his sights on a move away.
Toney, who has just returned from an eight-month ban for gambling offences, has been vocal about his desire to ‘play for a big club,’ and whilst he admitted he wants to repay the faith shown in him by Brentford, he cast doubt on his immediate future at the start of January by suggesting that ‘you can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere.’
The 27-year-old has a tendency to be very matter of fact when speaking and given the hero’s welcome he received upon his return to action, there was a feeling that things could’ve ended on a sour note. Toney, however, now looks focussed on securing survival for Brentford, with a goal in his first game back against Nottingham Forest helping secure a vital three points for the Bees – their first win in seven games.
Injuries and international commitments have left Brentford without forwards Bryan Mbeumo, Yoane Wissa and Kevin Schade, so now more than ever Toney’s presence in the side will be felt as Thomas Frank’s team approach a tricky run of fixtures. Brentford took an early lead via Neal Maupay only to concede three goals within the first 12 minutes of the restart, but Toney pulled one back in the 67th minute, and he’ll be looking to make it three in a row as Brentford welcome Manchester City to the capital.
A trip to Wolves, whom Brentford have already played three times this season without winning, follows, and the Bees end February with back-to-back games against City and Liverpool. It’s a daunting run that could pull Brentford back into trouble, having established a four-point gap between them and the relegation zone. But Toney, who scored 20 goals last season, including a brace away to City, will relish the chance to showcase his talents on the big stage.
Brentford are already looking at Toney’s long-term replacement, with Toulouse striker Thijs Dallinga reportedly on the club’s radar. The Ligue 1 club want €35 million. But with Brentford close to tying up a deal for young winger Antonio Nusa, the club will be mindful of spending heavily without assurances on the fee they’ll receive for Toney.
There’s no doubt about whether the England international will leave Brentford in the future; both Chelsea and Arsenal are in the market for a new striker and have longstanding interest in Toney. But with Premier League clubs wary of breaking profit and sustainability rules, a deal of this magnitude will likely be left until the summer.
This leaves Toney and Brentford at something of an impasse. But should he score the goals to propel Brentford to safety, Toney will leave the club with their blessing.
By: Sam Tabuteau / @TabuteauS
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images