Football News

“He is not proven at that level” Gael Clichy warns former club off top striker

By James Amey

Published: 20:44, 28 March 2024

It’s no secret that Arsenal are in the market for a big name striker. 

Despite being top of the Premier League table, it’s been clear at times this season that the Gunners are still a world class number nine away from taking the next step under Mikel Arteta and consistently challenging for honours on all fronts.

Gabriel Jesus has struggled with injuries and has found the back of the net just four times in 1,145 minutes of Premier League action so far this campaign, while Eddie Nketiah has been restricted to short cameo appearances, starting just one game across all competitions since Christmas. Kai Havertz seems to been have given the forward role in recent weeks and has looked impressive, scoring three goals and providing two assists in his last three Premier League matches, but Arsenal need that clinical striker that is going to get them 20-30 goals a season if they are going to take the next step.

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A host of big names have been talked about in regards to a move to North London this summer, including some from the Premier League, with Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Brighton’s Evan Ferguson both being linked and some from around Europe, including Viktor Gyökeres, who is having a season to remember for Sporting with 22 goals and 10 assists in 24 Primeira Liga appearances so far this term, and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, who became the first African player to win the Serie A Golden Boot last season.

However, transfer oracle David Ornstein seems to have shortened the list in his latest ‘Ask Orstein’ Q&A with The Athletic when asked about the Gunners’ striker hunt.

“The likes of Sesko & Gyökeres are well thought of.” he said.

“As is Ferguson but the price Brighton would want & the season he has had so far perhaps makes him less likely at the moment. I don’t see it being an Osimhen or Toney. There will be other options too.”

Ivan Toney scored his first international goal for England with a penalty against Belgium in midweek and has scored four goals in 10 Premier League appearances since returning from his ban, but former Arsenal and Man City left-back Gael Clichy doesn’t think he would be the right fit at the Emirates.

“Arsenal is a top club, and I don’t think Ivan Toney is better than what they have.” He said in an exclusive interview with Express Sport via Super Six.

“He is not proven at that level of football. When you play for Brentford, if you play Chelsea and you lose or draw, people just move on to the next game. If you lose against City, it’s expected. “Then you go and score a brace against 15th in the league and people are saying ‘Oh, maybe this guy can be a top player’. We will only really find out if he moves to a top club. Arsenal don’t need players; they score goals and create chances. I’m not sure he (Toney) is better than what they have.”

Since the start of last season, Ivan Toney is averaging 0.12 more goals per game than Gabriel Jesus, finding the back of the net eight more times having played a further 627 more minutes than the Brazilian. He also matches the Arsenal man for duels won per 90, with both strikers averaging similar number of shots on target per 90. However, it’s succesful flick-ons and chance conversion rate than Toney comes out on top on. The Brentford man has converted 19.17% of his chances in the league since the beginning of the 2022/23 campaign, an impressive 6.46% higher than Gabriel Jesus, although it’s Jesus who is the better all round finisher, with his 15 Premier League goals being split pretty evenly between his right-foot (5), right-foot (4) and head (6).