Chelsea finds itself once again in the transfer market quest for a striker as the January window looms, perpetuating the longstanding challenge the club has faced since the departure of Diego Costa. Despite significant expenditures exceeding £1 billion over three transfer windows, the No. 9 position remains a conspicuous void. With the impending window, Todd Boehly and his team are poised to explore potential solutions, with Brentford’s Ivan Toney emerging as a viable target, especially given his contract having only 18 months left in January 2024.
Thomas Frank, Brentford’s coach, acknowledged the club’s stance on player transfers during Monday Night Football on Sky Sports, stating, “Every club in the world is a selling club except five or six. We are a selling club if the right price is there, and I think it is the right timing for the player to go.” This statement opens the door for CFC to pursue Toney if the circumstances align. Several factors make Ivan Toney a compelling option to alleviate Chelsea’s striker dilemma:
Proven Premier League and Championship experience:
At 27 years old, Toney boasts a track record of consistent improvement within the English football system. His accolades include the League One Player of the Season award in 2019-20 and breaking the Championship goalscoring record at Brentford with 33 goals in 48 games. Notably, he scored 20 goals and provided four assists in his second EPL season, placing him third in Premier League goal-scoring behind Erling Haaland (37) and Harry Kane (30). He had the fewest number of shots (94), compared to Haaland (123) and Kane (120), despite splitting the pair for minutes played (Kane played the most). Toney’s clinical penalty prowess, converting 29 of 31 attempts in his professional career, adds another dimension to his goal-scoring capabilities.
Playmaking prowess and physical strength
Toney’s role at Brentford extends beyond scoring goals; he serves as a focal point in the attack, displaying adeptness in incisive passes, layoffs, and knock-ons for his teammates. His partnership with Bryan Mbeumo exemplifies the potential synergies with versatile players like Christopher Nkunku. Toney’s hold-up play and link-up abilities contribute to the overall attacking dynamics that will help the likes of Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer.
In addition, Toney’s aerial dominance, winning nearly 3.6 aerial duels per 90 minutes, provides a physical presence lacking in Chelsea’s current options with Nicolas Jackson and Armando Broja.
Tactical harmony and transfer viability for Chelsea
With the Blues under the management of Mauricio Pochettino, a high-pressing system is in play, necessitating forwards who excel in pressing high up the pitch. Toney’s ball recoveries from the previous season stand out, with 103 compared to Kane’s 96 (despite playing more than 450 minutes fewer) and Haaland’s 37. This defensive contribution aligns with Chelsea’s pressing ethos.
Furthermore, Chelsea’s struggles against low-block defenses and their penchant for missing big chances make Toney’s clinical finishing a potential solution to the team’s goal-scoring challenges as Chelsea are tied-second with 26 big chances missed. The strategic fit is complemented by the likelihood of negotiations with Brentford, considering the player’s contractual situation, making Toney a pragmatic choice compared to high-priced alternatives like Napoli’s Victor Osimhen.
In conclusion, CFC’s targeted investment in a striker aligns with the club’s needs for a forward familiar with the English system, possessing physical prowess and goal-scoring acumen. Ivan Toney emerges as a comprehensive solution, ticking the necessary boxes for the Blues.