David Moyes should urge West Ham United to swoop for Ivan Toney despite Danny Murphy suggesting the Brentford striker would be a risky summer signing.
While speaking on talkSPORT (16/2, 16:00), Murphy claimed the 24-year-old is too unproven for the Irons to be confident in his potential as for every Ollie Watkins there is a Jordan Hugill type.
The Hammers have recently been linked with interest in Bees star Toney, and it is thought that the east London outfit are monitoring the free-scoring talisman ahead of a potential move in the off-season to finally replace Sebastien Haller.
Toney has proven an instant hit at Brentford since replacing Watkins last summer, netting 23 goals in 29 Championship appearances following a £5m move from Peterborough to now being valued by the second-tier side at £30m.
Watkins scored 25 times over 46 regular-season outings in what proved to be his final campaign under Thomas Frank. He has gone on to strike home 10 goals in 22 Premier League appearances since joining Aston Villa for £28m in September.
Yet Murphy would not go all-in on Toney being Watkins 2.0 in the top-flight next term.
“Toney is unproven. It would be a lot to shell out on a man who hasn’t scored in any top-flight,” the former England midfielder said. “I wouldn’t be taking that gamble.
“Watkins is a good example, but there are probably lots of examples of players who’ve come from the Championship who haven’t done what Watkins has done.”
West Ham fans know all too well about second-tier players failing to make the grade in the Premier League, with Hugill just a recent example of forwards to have moved to east London and flopped.
The Irons paid £10m to sign Hugill from Preston North End in 2018 under Moyes during the Scotsman’s first tenure at the helm, but he would only make three appearances in claret and blue without scoring before he was shifted onto Norwich City last summer in a deal that could reach £5m.
Yet Toney would be expected to be a Watkins more so than a Hugill, having already established a record in his short time with Brentford that the Middlesbrough-born marksman never had at Deepdale.
Hugill stuck just 23 goals in 100 Championship appearances during his two-and-a-half seasons with Preston, including a single-term best of 12 in 44 games in 2016/17.
Watkins has almost bettered that in half as many Premier League outings and Toney would arrive at the London Stadium fresh from the same schooling that Dean Smith and Aston Villa have vastly benefited from.
Toney is also rounding off the rough edges to his game that former Scunthorpe United coach Graham Alexander spotted in the striker when he sought his signing on loan from Newcastle United, to be confident that the forward is ready to play at a higher level.
“In the air, Ivan was one of the best I’ve worked with,” Alexander told The Athletic. “He was quick, aggressive, willing to battle, and had a great finish. As a goalscorer, he didn’t need much improvement.
“Physically, he also wasn’t ready to play for Newcastle. He was a good frame, but he wasn’t filled out. He still needed a lot of growing into. He had all the attributes to play higher, but he just wasn’t physically ready then, as he is now.”
If Toney keeps scoring as freely as he is yet Brentford fail to secure promotion into the Premier League, Moyes would regret not urging West Ham to snap up the breakout attacking star.
AND in other news, David Moyes has been sent an instant reminder by a £9m West Ham target…