Arsenal target rising star as their half-price Ivan Toney

Arsenal may not hold an interest in Ivan Toney at the price Brentford are asking for the striker, but Mikel Arteta’s side are still looking for a forward built in his style.

FootballTransfers exclusively revealed that the Bees’ €116 million (£100m) asking price for the once-capped England international forward was sufficient to put the Gunners out of the running for the No.9 in January.

Arsenal, though, need additional goal scoring power in their side if they are to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the title until the end of the season, with the Emirates club lacking the type of prolific goal-getter to decide tight games.

Bukayo Saka is presently Arsenal’s leading scorer this season on just nine goals, two clear of Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus.

According to The Telegraph, Arteta has turned his attentions towards Bologna hitman Joshua Zirkzee, who has also been attracting interest from Manchester United after a strong start to the season in Serie A. FootballTransfers revealed in November that West Ham are also following him.

Zirkzee a man in scoring form
A 22-year-old Netherlands U21 international, Zirkzee has seven goals in 19 matches in Italy’s top flight this season in what is proving to be a breakout campaign for the former Bayern Munich youngster.

It will take a monster offer for the youngster to leave Italy, one probably well in excess of his Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €15.6m.

Bologna technical director Marco Di Vaio told La Gazzetta dello Sport that Zirkzee, who is under contract until 2026, is unlikely to leave: “We have not received any calls for Zirkzee. And we wouldn’t listen to them anyway. Joshua is a number nine and a half, he doesn’t look like anyone else.”

Zirkzee does, however, have qualities that mimic the impact that Toney has for Brentford, as demonstrated by the interactive graphic above.

Arsenal would be taking something of a risk by completing this deal, with data analytics experts SciSports indicating that Zirkzee’s potential is only a little higher than that of Eddie Nketiah but significantly short of Gabriel Jesus’ standard.

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