Brentford striker Ivan Toney has gifted David Moyes a huge boost in West Ham United’s rumoured plans for a summer transfer, after declaring himself Premier League ready while speaking with the Daily Mail over the weekend.
The Irons have been widely credited with an interest in the Bees’ Championship star since the winter market, when Sebastien Haller’s move to AFC Ajax left Michail Antonio as Moyes’ only recognised senior centre-forward.
Toney was considered to be one of three options topping Moyes’ shortlist for potential summer targets last month, alongside Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah and Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham.
West Ham striving to seal a deal for Toney could prove expensive, with reports by TEAMtalk suggesting Brentford will demand £30m after selling Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa for £28m rising to £33m in September. Football League World have also claimed a £35m asking price.
Either sum would be a large outlay for a player only boasting 10 minutes of Premier League football in their career, but Toney has gifted Moyes a huge boost by declaring himself ready for the step up to the top-flight.
“I feel like I’m more than ready to step up into the Premier League,” the 25-year-old said. “I feel the qualities the players have, I can fit in perfectly. The deliveries the players get, I’d be able to get on the end of crosses. I feel like I would slot into the majority of teams in the Premier League.”
Toney’s confidence on the back of a 29-goal, 10-assist and counting Championship campaign should give Moyes all the reason needed to urge West Ham to fund a summer swoop, for a player who could become the Hammers’ third-most expensive signing of all time.
Toney wasted no time in settling into life at Brentford following a 24-goal, six-assist season in League One with Peterborough United last term, with the Northampton-born frontman striking home seven times in his first six Championship appearances under Thomas Frank.
The 2019/20 League One top-scorer has continued to establish himself as a free-scoring machine in the second-tier since, with Toney topping the goal charts by four to Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki (25) and eight to fellow Irons target Adam Armstrong (21) of Blackburn Rovers.
He could now follow in the footsteps of Watkins by leaving Brentford for the Premier League, where the Aston Villa forward has 12 goals to his name and impressed Gareth Southgate to earn his England debut last month.
Toney has the potential to eclipse Watkins’ successes in the top-flight too, with Darren Bent waxing lyrical over the prolific £21,000-per-week marksman at the Villans star’s expense.
“His movement is absolutely superb – [he] senses where the danger is going to be and gets himself in there,” Bent told talkSPORT in January. “He’s good in the air and he has two good feet. But where I think he excels to a Ollie Watkins and a [Neal] Maupay is that I think he’s more clinical. In and around that box with his finishing – I think he’s more cultured to his finishing.”
Toney has scored more often in the Championship this season than Pukki and Armstrong despite taking fewer shots, with the Brentford marksman attempting 117 efforts to his rivals respective 126 and 170, per WhoScored.
He has also scored more in the air with six headed goals to Pukki’s one and Armstrong’s two, which could see Toney prove to be the ideal striker for West Ham who rank second only to Chelsea (5) for accurate crosses (4.9) per Premier League game this season.
It may take a lot for West Ham to seal a deal with Brentford, and would become increasingly complicated should the Bees secure promotion, but Moyes should be urging the London Stadium hierarchy to launch a swoop this summer.