In six weeks time, Ivan Toney will finally be able to play professional football competitively again.
It’s been a long time coming for Brentford’s 28-year-old hit-man, as he’ll have served an eight month punishment for betting irregularities by January 17 – the date he can pull on the Bees shirt once more.
The striker is believed to have been training behind the scenes to get his fitness levels back up, though it’s likely to take some time for him to find his previous rhythm once again.
What will be interesting to see is whether the clubs that are interested in signing him will aim to do so in January, or whether they will wait until the summer in order to see how Toney fares over the next few months.
After all, being out of action for so long could well have had a marked effect on his mental state, which could feed into the confidence he’ll need to hit the heights once more.
Fabrizio Romano believes that Toney’s re-emergence could well spark a bidding war.
‘Brentford’s Ivan Toney is a really important player with many clubs following him, and from what I understand, the interest from Arsenal and Chelsea is still there,’ he wrote in his exclusive Daily Briefing for CaughtOffside.
‘Arsenal’s focus is on their midfield at the moment with Douglas Luiz remaining their priority, but Ivan Toney is a player appreciated by them.
‘Chelsea like the player, yes, but what I wanted to clarify about Chelsea is that they’ve never decided to open a concrete negotiation with Brentford or with the player’s agents because of different factors.’
It seems clear that Chelsea will spend whatever it takes to get the right player in, though whether that is Toney will only be seen in due course.
Were Victor Osimhen to become available for example, one can imagine that the Blues may focus their energy there.
Arsenal prioritising Douglas Luiz could impact any move for Toney in January. However, if the Gunners believe that the striker could be heading elsewhere, then they’ll need to make their position crystal clear if they still want to be in the conversation.
Given that Toney is virtually a guarantee of goals, whichever club ends up with the player, either in January or next summer, they’ll know that their front line will be enhanced by his presence.
Though he could be expensive as a result, it will almost certainly be money well spent.