Kylian Mbappe could stop Arsenal signing Ivan Toney in new headache | Football | Sport

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Arsenal are big fans of Ivan Toney but Kylian Mbappe could play a role in stopping the Gunners from getting their hands on the Brentford centre-forward this summer. The Paris Saint-Germain attacker has informed the Ligue 1 club he intends to leave as a free agent at the end of the season, with Real Madrid his likeliest destination.

But Mbappe departing Paris for Madrid could have a knock-on effect for Premier League title hopefuls Arsenal. That is because among PSG’s main options to replace the Frenchman is Victor Osimhen.

The Napoli No. 9, who fired the Italian giants to the Serie A title last term, has scored 39 goals and assisted another eight in his last 57 games. Chelsea had been chasing the 25-year-old Nigerian as an option to lead their line from next season onwards.

But PSG, as a result of saving £170million a year by losing Mbappe, will be able to offer Osimhen huge wages as well as exercising the £113m release clause in his Napoli contract. The Evening Standard say Chelsea are already shopping for alternatives and that Brentford’s Toney is one of them.

After scoring Brentford’s consolation goal against Liverpool in a 4-1 defeat on Saturday, the 27-year-old has four goals in five games since his return from an eight-month betting ban. He is on pace to end the season with more than 10 goals after scoring 20 times in 33 outings last term.

And while Arsenal are a very appealing club to join at the moment, with Mikel Arteta’s team certified Premier League title challengers and a major player in the Champions League, Chelsea will offer strong competition for Toney’s signature. Some reports claim the one-cap England international is their new No. 1 target.

Toney is likely to cost £80m or so, despite the fact his Brentford contract expires in 2025, and Chelsea may try to outbid Arsenal – either with the transfer fee they offer their fellow London club or the wages they offer to the striker. That would make sporting director Edu’s job harder given Chelsea have more players to offload to help raise funds this summer than the Gunners do.

Bees manager Thomas Frank has already admitted Toney could leave in the summer, while the player himself has repeatedly teased an exit from the Gtech Community Stadium.

He said last month: “You can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere, but I think it’s obvious I want to play for a top club. Everybody wants to play for a top club, that is fighting for titles.”

While that would suggest Arsenal is a likelier destination, Chelsea will do their all to convince Toney that Stamford Bridge is the best place for him. The Blues have massively underperformed their expected goals this season, with only Everton managing a worse underperformance.

That suggests a new frontman could solve a lot of issues for Mauricio Pochettino’s team. Arsenal meanwhile want a ruthless goalscorer to compete with Gabriel Jesus and offer the team a different dimension in attack.

The physical Toney would certainly do that given his ability to hold the ball up and bring his team-mates into play, while he is also a menace at corners and an excellent free-kick taker.

Whoever gets him will be bringing in one of the Premier League‘s finest strikers, but Arsenal will be frustrated if Osimhen’s move to PSG means Chelsea double down on their efforts to buy Toney. Especially if they get him.

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