Having played for Newcastle United with little impact in the past, the name Ivan Toney might not be recognised at Premier League level. His career until 2020 had mostly been built on a solid body of work in the lower leagues with Northampton Town and Peterborough United. However, after a stellar season with the Posh seen him linked with all manner of clubs, Toney eventually made the move to Brentford. The Championship club have been close to promotion several times, and are known for being a solid production line of attacking talent. Their confidence in Toney, then, raised eyebrows.
And now it looks like the English striker could be on the move to Premier League. Whether that comes with the Bees in a promotion push, or whether it comes with a move when promotion fails again, remains to be seen. For now, though, links to teams as varied as Everton, Arsenal, and Leicester City show that there is genuine interest in what Toney can do at the highest level.
A prolific finisher with pace and aggression, Toney has shown himself to be the ideal link man and number nine in a modern Premier League side. Like other Championship strikers to develop in their early 20s, Toney is following in the trail of the likes of Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay – both former Brentford players, too.
A move to the Premier League, then, seems almost inevitable. Having shown his ability at the second tier with consummate ease this year, any fears of him being a third-to-fourth tier bully have been quickly removed. However, if Toney is to move to the Premier League this year, then it might shine a light on how big the 2020 transfer window was for the player.
In 2020, Toney was still at Peterborough and had finished the season in outstanding form. However, the talk of a move to Championship teams involved teams much lower down the pecking order. In fact, the team that was most strongly linked was Celtic of Scotland. The Hoops were in the process of searching for a striker to complement (or replace) French striker Odsonne Edouard. In the end, though, they agreed to sign West Ham United striker Alban Ajeti – with reports suggesting the cheaper fee swayed the Scottish giants.
However, this looks to have been a major mistake for all involved. Not only has Ajeti suffered with fitness and form issues all year, but Toney is now far beyond the SPFL teams budget. Also, the Hoops have shown a propensity to concede from set-plays, whilst Toney has won particular acclaim for his ability to win headers in both his box and the opposition box.
Celtic, then, look to have made a mistake in the choosing of an unfit Swiss striker as opposed to a young, aggression English forward who looked desperate to make the move. Given he was spoken of highly by Celtic coach Gavin Strachan, who worked with Toney at Peterborough, further adds confusion to the decision.
It looks, though, like Toney will benefit either way – he will be a Premier League player in 2021 one way or another.