Emile Heskey believes Brentford striker Ivan Toney is capable of making a big step up if he joins Premier League giants Arsenal in 2021, speaking exclusively to HITC.
Spare a thought for those eternally-disillusioned Newcastle United fans.
While Callum Wilson has done a fine job in difficult circumstances at St James’ Park, the Tyneside faithful would be forgiven for looking at 32-year-old Andy Carroll and the misfiring Joelinton and wondering if two players the club sold for a combined £2 million would be capable of producing far more in a team devoid of attacking quality.
With 16 goals apiece in 2020/21, Toney and Adam Armstrong are neck-and-neck at the forefront of the Championship’s Golden Boot race.
And while the latter has been linked with a move to West Ham on the back of his explosive performances for Blackburn, the former could soon be following Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins from Brentford to the Premier League.
The Express reports that Arsenal are watching Toney closely, just five months after he left third-tier Peterborough United for a cool £10 million.
And while few players have gone from League One to a bonafide top-flight powerhouse in the blinking of an eye, Heskey believes Toney has both the ability and the attitude to succeed at Arsenal.
“I saw him against Newcastle (during Brentford’s EFL Cup quarter-final victory in December). I thought his movement was very good. He pounces on chances and he’s got an eye for goal,” says the former Aston Villa, Liverpool and Leicester City striker.
“(Brentford) play a very, very expansive way, a very unique way, which probably suits the way Toney plays as well.
“I think he’s on the radar of a lot of teams of well. He was actually in Leicester’s academy and I think he got released at 15 or 16 – he went down to come back up (joining Northampton Town as a free-agent).
“It’s a good story for other young players who get released.”
With 65 goals in his last 120 games for Peterborough and Brentford, Toney would be hard pressed to continue such a remarkable strike-rate in the top-flight.
But Heskey believes the 24-year-old would attack a life-changing move to Arsenal with typical self-belief and desire. After failing to make the grade at Newcastle, he’d certainly have a point to prove in the Premier League.
“The thing with Toney is, he’s dealt with setbacks and he’s bounced back. His mentality is very strong. Regardless of where he goes, he will try and force his way in.
“Being in and around the changing room at Arsenal will not faze him. Being in and around better players will make him better.”