Premier League • England

Arsenal shockingly told to swerve No 1 striker target as ‘standout’ Prem forward is ‘best candidate’

Dominic Solanke, Ivan Toney, Arsenal

Premier League strikers Dominic Solanke and Ivan Toney alongside the Arsenal badge

Chris Sutton has told Arsenal they can’t wait for Ivan Toney to “get up to speed” in January and instead Dominic Solanke “stands out as the best candidate” to bolster their attack.

Arsenal have been linked with a number of top-quality strikers of late. While Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah are both useful, neither are the devastating 20-goal-a-season striker that are going to win the Gunners the title.

Indeed, neither man has scored more than five Premier League goals this season. Given the league’s top scorer, Erling Haaland, is on 14 for the campaign, Arsenal will be looking at that and looking to replicate his impact for themselves.

The list of striker talent they’ve been linked with of late includes Victor Osimhen, Viktor Gyokeres and Toney.

But Osimhen will command a fee of £112million after penning a new deal, and Gyokeres would rather try his hand in Spain, Italy or Germany than come back to England.

As such, Toney seems the most viable option, and is also the one Arsenal seem most invested in.

They reportedly “know” he wants to join them, so all it looks is left to do is convince Brentford into a sale.

However, according to Sutton, that should not be the case.

Toney might not be up to scratch

The pundit feels Toney might not be up to scratch in January, having been banned all season, and Arsenal can’t afford to allow a new striker to ease their way in given they’re chasing the title.

“They are playing catch-up to Liverpool, with City hot on their heels – Pep Guardiola’s side would go above them if they win their game in hand,” Sutton told BBC Sport.

“There’s been plenty of talk already about how manager Mikel Arteta needs to sign another striker in January.

“Brentford’s Ivan Toney has been linked for a while, but he has not played for months because of his suspension. He will have been training, but how much match sharpness does he have?’

“Arsenal are trying to win the title, so they haven’t got time to wait for anyone to get up to speed.”

Solanke the better option

Indeed, while Toney bagged 20 Premier League goals last season, that he’s been sidelined for so long means he comes with the risk that he’ll not be the same player when he’s back.

As such, Sutton feels Bournemouth talisman Solanke is the better option right now.

“If we are looking at the names that are supposedly within their grasp, Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke stands out as the best candidate,” Sutton added.

Solanke has scored 12 Premier League goals this season, and is one of the most in-form players in the division.

Even if Arsenal signed him and he was only useful for the next six months, if he helped them to win the title, that would surely be seen as a worthwhile transfer.

There’s less of an unknown factor about Solanke while he’s firing than there is with Toney, coming off a long layoff, and the advice from Sutton might be something to listen to.

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