Chelsea are strongly considering making a big-money offer to Brentford in the January transfer window for striker Ivan Toney, football.london understands. The 27-year-old forward is set to return to action in the new year with his eight-month ban to come to an end.
Toney was given an eight-month suspension from all football-related activity back in May for breaching the FA's betting rules. The England international, though, is now close to returning to action and is looking to leave Brentford in the next transfer window.
Chelsea are one of numerous clubs with an interest in Toney. The Blues have liked the striker for a long time now and were considering making a move for him in the summer of 2022, prior to his long-term ban.
It is no secret that Chelsea are on the hunt for a new No.9. Nicolas Jackson is very highly-rated at the club and has been in superb form over the last couple of games but adding a proven goalscorer in January will ease the burden on the Senegalese striker somewhat.
Chelsea still view Jackson as someone with a hugely bright future at the club but in the early exchanges of the season, there has been too much reliance on the 22-year-old to score goals. Seven goals in his first 14 matches in a Blues shirt is a seriously impressive return despite there being plenty of criticism of the striker in the last couple of months.
As well as this, Jackson will be off to represent Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations in mid-January. The striker represents the holders of the competition so there is every chance that he could be in Africa for around a month – leaving Chelsea short of options up top.
Armando Broja has recently returned from a lengthy injury layoff and cannot be relied on just yet. Broja and Jackson, as it stands, are Chelsea's only senior, orthodox No.9 options. Cole Palmer has been played in the false nine role this season but he is not at all natural in leading the line.
So adding someone like Toney over the January transfer window is an option that is seriously being considered by those high up at Chelsea. However, Arsenal are also very interested in the former Newcastle United striker, although Chelsea seem to be in a much stronger position financially than their north London rivals right now.
Brentford are understood to be willing to do business when it comes to Toney, who has less than two years remaining on his deal with the west London-based club. The Bees are reportedly demanding around £80million for their star striker, who is rated very highly by manager Thomas Frank.
Speaking in March, Frank said this on Toney: "Ivan is amazing in many, many aspects. The way he copes with pressure and distractions is amazing.
"He's been scoring goals, performing for the team and driving the team. He is remarkable.
"I can only talk about the Ivan that I see every day around the place and he is a fantastic person around the group. He's got that unique emotional intelligence to be aware of all the players, and every staff member.
"Ivan trains well and he's clearly the number two striker in England. That is proven by his goals and performances."
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