Brentford star Ivan Toney sent David Moyes a statement during the Bees’ 3-1 win over Reading on Wednesday, as West Ham United’s plans for the striker continue to grow.
According to Eurosport, Hammers chiefs are monitoring Toney’s sensational form in the Championship ahead of a potential swoop for the centre-forward this summer.
The Irons opted against making a quick bid to replace Sebastien Haller in the mid-season market and are instead focused on finding the right long-term option to succeed where the Ivory Coast international could not.
A renewed approach for Sevilla ace Youssef En-Nesyri is seen to be extremely unlikely at this stage, while many other potential options will continue to be explored between now and the end of the season.
This is not the first that West Ham are being linked with Toney, after claims emerged on Deadline Day that the east London outfit hope their willingness to send Winston Reid to west London on loan for the rest of the season would help in any future negotiations.
Few in the Championship are performing at the same level as Toney, who leads the division for goals after taking his tally to 23 for the term at Reading on Wednesday. He also became the second-tier’s leading assist provider with nine, after being involved in Joshua Dasilva’s brace at the Madejski Stadium.
Toney has now turned the ball home seven times and created four goals in his last four league games, with WhoScored match ratings of 9.91, 7.55, 9.23 and 8.23 helping to a seasonal average of 7.55 – the second-best in the second-tier to Cardiff’s Kieffer Moore (7.6).
Toney’s display at Reading sent a clear message to Moyes that he has to be tracked as West Ham weigh up who to invest in come the end of the season, as it is more than obvious that he is too good for the Championship and ready to make the step up to the Premier League.
The attacker, who former England international Darren Bent lauds as a “clinical” finisher, often cut an isolated figure in attack on Wednesday but stayed alive to see that Brentford moved top of the table by nonchalantly chesting a looping cross for Dasilva to score.
Toney soon pounced on a loose ball to fire home himself in the 88th-minute, after Rafael could only parry Sergi Canos’ low effort, and could have bagged a brace to go with his pair of assists were it not for a last-ditch Michael Morrison clearance.
Being starved off the ball in dangerous positions and Morrison intercepting Dasilva’s cross meant Toney could only register one shot at the Madejski, compared to his usual 2.5 a game in the Championship this season.
Yet Toney put Bent’s words into practice to ensure he did not miss his only chance, and sent Moyes and West Ham a clear message as they continue to grow their striker plans.