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William Saliba could play a key role in Arsenal signing Ivan Toney in January

William Saliba could play a key role in Arsenal signing Ivan Toney in January

Arsenal’s William Saliba might have influenced Mikel Arteta’s decision to invest in the January transfer window to secure the services of Brentford’s Ivan Toney. 

The Brentford striker is presently serving a suspension until January 17 due to a violation of the FA’s betting regulations, but he is back in training, eagerly anticipated for his impending return.

However, it’s uncertain whether he will make his comeback with Brentford, as he is still considered one of the top strikers available and has openly expressed his desire to compete at a higher level. 

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Arsenal is rumored to be one of the teams interested in the 27-year-old, as they have repeatedly expressed the need for another striker to strengthen Arteta’s attacking lineup.

Chelsea has also been suggested as a potential rival in the pursuit of Toney, but Arteta might now be focused on securing Toney’s services due to the impressive performance of his star defender, Saliba, who effectively contained Erling Haaland in their recent victory over Manchester City.

Saliba has established himself as one of the standout defenders in the Premier League, but Toney is one of the few forwards who have outperformed Saliba, leaving a lasting impression on Arteta. 

This may have convinced Arteta that they must sign Toney in the January transfer window. 

Toney scored the equalizing goal in Brentford’s 1-1 draw at the Emirates in February, and his contributions in Brentford’s league debut win over Arsenal in 2021 are still fondly remembered by the Bees’ fans.

Arteta has already expressed his admiration for Toney and his playing style, offering high praise for the English forward in anticipation of what could potentially be a significant January transfer.

“I have seen a lot of their games, Toney stretches out his arms against any defender and he can hold the ball and make you feel like it’s a physical challenge,” Arteta said last year.

“I will prepare my players and they have to be ready for the battles, they have to win the duels. Physically powerful is the right word for a lot of the signings we have made. You have to be equipped physically in this league. That does not mean only the physical contact. You have to be equipped in your head as well, because if you don’t read the situation you are always late. It is a balance you need.”

The potential move already has the support of Arsenal legend Ian Wright, who is enthusiastic about the idea of Toney taking the lead in the Gunners’ forward line.

 “I think with Toney the links won’t go away as it’s blatantly obvious to see, that focal point that player who scores, that takes you somewhere else,” he told the Stick To Football podcast.

“You can’t question the endeavour of Eddie (Nketiah) or (Gabriel) Jesus but you look back at the Tottenham game with the Jesus chance. For a player of that calibre to be in that position 1-0 up, those chances have to be buried.

“The margins are so small now you can’t afford to be missing chances like and that and not winning games. The work off the ball is fantastic for both players. The Toney links don’t go away because for me that is the last piece of the jigsaw. He’ll do it if it can be done.”

William Saliba could play a key role in Arsenal signing Ivan Toney in January

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