Arsenal WON’T win the league without signing Ivan Toney in January, claims Ian Wright… as the Gunners legend insists the Brentford star is the ‘last piece of the jigsaw’ for Mikel Arteta
- Brentford striker Ivan Toney continues to be linked with a transfer to Arsenal
- Ian Wright insisted the Gunners need to sign Toney to compete for the title
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Ian Wright has claimed that Arsenal will only compete with Man City for the Premier League title this season if they sign Ivan Toney in January.
The Gunners currently lie second, two points ahead of City after they defeated Pep Guardiola’s side in dramatic fashion on Sunday thanks to Gabriel Martinelli’s late winner.
It was a landmark moment for Mikel Arteta’s outift, with the victory marking the first time Arsenal have beaten City in the Premier League since 2015, while it sent out a message to the rest of the league that they can better their second place finish from last season.
The Gunners remain unbeaten in the top flight, but dropped points against Fulham and Tottenham when they were guilty of missing big chances.
And former Arsenal favourite Wright insisted that while current striking options Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus have plenty of good traits about them, the lack of a quality goalscoring forward could prevent them from going all the way.
Ian Wright claimed Arsenal must sign Ivan Toney in January to compete for the title this season
Wright said the addition of a ‘focal point’ like Toney would take the Gunners to the next level
‘We spread goals out last season and it took us to a certain place,’ he told The Overlap.
‘I think with Toney the links won’t go away as it’s blatantly obvious to see, that focal point that player who scores, that takes you somewhere else.
‘You can’t question the endeavour of Eddie (Nketiah) or (Gabriel) Jesus but you look back at the Tottenham game with the Jesus chance. For a player of that calibre to be in that position 1-0 up, those chances have to be buried.
‘The margins are so small now you can’t afford to be missing chances like and that and not winning games. The work off the ball is fantastic for both players.
‘The Toney links don’t go away because for me that is the last piece of the jigsaw. He’ll do it if it can be done.’
Martinelli and Martin Odegaard were Arsenal’s joint top scorers in the league last season as both netted 15 times, whereas Jesus and Nketiah only scored that amount between them.
Toney – who continues to be linked with a January move to Arsenal – scored 20 goals for Brentford during the 2022-23 campaign but is currently serving an eight month ban from football after admitting 232 betting offences, with the England forward to be allowed to return to playing from January 16 onwards.
Wright insisted if Arsenal signed Toney it would be the ‘last piece of the jigsaw for Mikel Arteta’
Gabriel Jesus (left) and Eddie Nketiah (right) have both been widely praised for their work ethic, but their potency in front of goal has attracted criticism from pundits and supporters
Meanwhile, Nketiah has two top flight goals so far during this campaign, while Jesus has scored once and Jamie Carragher agreed with Wright that despite their relentless work ethics, the pair wouldn’t be enough to keep Arsenal ahead of City.
The former Liverpool defender added: ‘I don’t think Arsenal can win the league with the squad they’ve got now unless they buy in January. A striker.’
Gary Neville then backed up his fellow pundit as he said: ‘They’re (Jesus and Nketiah) not wired to score goals. Instinctively the runs that goalscorers make they hold back, they look for a pull back. Jesus is erratic in front of goal.’
The Gunners return to action after the international break with a trip to Chelsea on Saturday October 21, before they entertain struggling Sheffield United the following week.
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