Harry Kane gives Arsenal transfer incentive to pursue Ivan Toney ahead of summer spending – Tom Canton
Take a look at the Arsenal squad and what do you see? The positives are a group of players full of potential. However, comparing him to the club’s top four rivals, the absence of world-class players becomes very evident.
Arsenal fought for the Champions League places alongside a Tottenham side with Antonio Conte deploying Harry Kane and Heung-min Son. Ralf Rangnick, meanwhile, has relied on Cristiano Ronaldo to bring his team back into contention with many hugely cherished stars throughout the squad.
Both teams have young players, but most importantly, they can look up to the influential people around them. Kane, Son and Ronaldo carried the goal threat for their teams.
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Look at Arsenal and their top scorers are three players aged 21 and under. Emile Smith-Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were the main source of goals and 23-year-old potential captain Martin Odegaard with one more than the Brazilian.
Arsenal are linked with strikers, which makes sense, but a common theme is the age of these players. Darwin Nunez, 22, Jonathan David, 22 and Victor Osimhen, 23.
There is no doubt that all three have their strengths and qualities, but perhaps the Gunners should look to a player who is a leader through experience. Someone who can be a focal point for guidance as well as goals. An attribute that develops with age.
Kane and Ronaldo provide these traits to their teams. In crucial moments, can a player of 22 or 23 be able to make the difference? Very probably. It is unfair to exclude someone because of their age.
But it would be fair to say that the chance of a player nearing or at their peak, and considered world-class or bordering on that level, would be a safer bet. The problem is their rarity.
The best strikers in and around their prime are already at the top clubs. Paulo Dybala is an interesting option, especially as his contract with Juventus expires this summer. That said, there will certainly be plenty of interest in a player moving at no transfer fee to the level of the Argentine, and perhaps Champions League football will be a necessity.
26-year-old Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick would be a player that would cost the Gunners a lot of money, but they would get an equally serious player. Only Robert Lewandowski has more Bundesliga goals this season than Schick.
Having played in several leagues, with varying success, he is maturing now and judgments about his earlier struggles should be put aside. Schick is an international striker with characteristics that could transform the Gunners’ attacking position.
Finally, Brentford striker and fellow 26-year-old Ivan Toney. If you can get past the recent video controversies, which I personally struggle with in all honesty, then from a football perspective Toney represents a striker to make the step up to the top flight.
14 goals this season and 5 assists, boosted even more by the arrival of Christian Eriksen, the Bees striker could be considered. He possesses the aerial threat, clinical finishing and self-confidence to carry a camp. A proven player in the Premier League now who could be the one to take the Gunners’ striker position to that next level.
There will remain a lot of talk about who the potential player will be, however, bearing in mind that his character and profile will be crucial. Goals alone aren’t always enough, they weren’t for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette and when they dried up what was left hurt the Gunners’ season.