Arsenal transfer target Ivan Toney registered a hat-trick for Brentford in a behind-closed-doors game on Saturday ahead of his return to the top-flight.
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Toney is currently serving an eight-month ban for breaking the Football Association’s rules on betting but his suspension is set to end on January 17.
That means that he is eligible for Brentford’s Premier League clash against Nottingham Forest on January 20 and Arsenal will be keeping an close eye on the English striker having made him their No.1 target in the current transfer window.
With that in mind, Toney, who is able to play in behind-closed-doors games while he is still banned, impressively scored thee goals as Brentford’s B team defeated Southampton U23s 5-1 on Saturday.
But Arsenal face a battle to bring the 27-year-old to the Emirates this month with Brentford having set a new asking price of £100m.
That may rule out a switch to north London given that the Gunners are in a tight spot regarding profitability and sustainability rules.
Arsenal legend Paul Merson, though, has urged his old club to splash the cash and get the deal done.
Mikel Arteta recently tempered expectations for the January transfer window, admitting it is possible that Arsenal won’t bring in any new signings.
‘We are open in the transfer market but again the emphasis is on making the most out of the players that we have,’ the Spaniard said. ‘We will work together with the club to understand whether there are any possibilities and if we have any good options, but first of all focus on the players that we have.’
Pressed further on whether the club may do no business at all, Arteta added: ‘That is a possibility.’