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Toney tops ranking of Arsenal January striker targets by how much they could overpay

Toney tops ranking of Arsenal January striker targets by how much they could overpay

Will Arsenal pay a January tax with a Premier League title race at stake?

Reports suggest they’re keen on a striker, but any goalscorer capable of ousting either Gabriel Jesus or Eddie Nketiah from Mikel Arterta’s starting XI won’t come cheap.

We’ve lifted the values from Transfermarkt so they’re more of a guide, but anyway, we’ve ranked five Arsenal striker targets by how much they could overpay for them, from least to most.

Rasmus Hojlund topped a Manchester United equivalent in the summer; Arsenal would probably want a speedier return on their investment.

5) Ollie Watkins: +£23m
Value: £52m
Transfer fee: £75m

Ollie Watkins is a changed man under Unai Emery. A striker that got ten goals and four assists in 39 games under Steven Gerrard, and was often shafted to the wing to accommodate Danny Ings, has 28 goals and 12 assists under the current manager – a goal contribution every 105 minutes.

What may well be a concern for Arsenal is that this could be an example of a striker thriving because he’s ideally suited to his team’s style of football. That may well be the reality with all the players on this list of course, but it feels particularly apt in Watkins’ case, with his pace and physicality making him the perfect transition striker.

He quickly grew frustrated against Sheffield United when faced with a low block, and perhaps doesn’t have the quality on the ball to be as effective as Arsenal will need him to be when space is limited.

4) Dominic Solanke: +£28m
Value: £22m
Transfer fee: £50m

There haven’t actually been any reports as to how much Bournemouth would want for their striker, because when asked about a January move, billionaire owner Bill Foley said “the door’s closed and bolted shut”. But enough banging and screaming from Solanke, or indeed sulking, may well change the prison guard’s mind.

Apparently the Cherries wanted £40m from Newcastle when the Toon approached them in the summer of 2022, on the back of Solanke banging in 29 goals in the Championship, so we’ve put an extra £10m on that fee as the 26-year-old is now cutting Premier League mustard, with only Erling Haaland (14) above him in the goalscoring charts after four goals in his last two games took his tally to 12 for the season.

Solanke will likely feel he has unfinished ‘Big Club’ business having failed to live up to some very high expectations at both Chelsea and Liverpool, who managed to insert a 20 per cent sell-on clause in their agreement with Bournemouth in 2019.

Arsenal indirectly gifting Liverpool extra transfer funds for their own title push may not be the brightest of ideas.

3) Santiago Gimenez: +£43m
Value: £44m
Transfer fee: £87m

Plucked from CD Cruz Azul in his native Mexico for just over £5m in the summer of 2022, Gimenez has scored 43 goals in just 67 games for Feyenoord, including 27 in his last 27 league outings. He’s fourth in the 2023 scoring charts, behind Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane and Haaland. Boy knows where the goal is.

At just 22 he’s comfortably the youngest striker on this list, which goes some way to explaining his lofty release clause, as well as offering Arsenal the potential to form a front three with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli for the best part of a decade.

That said he could be deemed more of a risk than any of the other contenders having not been subjected to the rigours of English football.

2) Viktor Gyokeres: +£48m
Value: £39m
Transfer fee: £87m

“I think it’s a bit like when Sporting came in to sign me…” Gyokeres said confoundingly, as he then went on to explain his intent to stay at the Portuguese club he left Coventry for in the summer.

Anyway, he will leave if his release clause is met, which is £70m more than Arsenal would have had to pay for the Sweden international six months ago. Chelsea are also interested, and this is the sort of daft transfer deal that’s right up their street.

“He was in England, right next to them,” said Sporting boss Ruben Amorim, mocking the Premier League scouts for us. At least if it’s Chelsea who land the 25-year-old, Amorim can soon be reunited with the striker when Mauricio Pochettino gets the boot.

1) Ivan Toney: +£56m
Value: £44m
Transfer fee: £100m

He’s been linked for the longest of any of them and reports suggest he’s still the most likely, with Arsenal said to be in talks with his representatives. Toney is very keen on Arsenal; more so than Chelsea, for obvious reasons.

But it would presumably be quite useful for Arsenal to know if he’s still good at football. We’re only half joking.

Presumably he’s kept himself fit, but he can’t be match fit having not played since early June. And given the Gunners are keen to sign a striker for the purpose of propelling them to the title this season, the time it may take for Toney to get back up to speed must surely be a consideration. We’re not saying he’s lost it, but Arsenal should be wary that it may have been misplaced.

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