Done Deal ✅: Arsenal get green light to complete £112m Ivan toney transfer as Brentford agree deal

January 2024 and the football world turns its attentions to the transfer window. Here we go …
Well, er, the expectation is that the market will not be especially brisk, what with financial fair play biting hard and a few clubs fearing punishment if they spend over their limits. Still, there are always rumours flying around and leading them is those around Ivan Toney, whose potential move to Arsenal has been flagged since the summer. That Brentford are coming off a run of five consecutive defeats may only increase the premium and the cost could go as high as £100m.
The alternatives don’t look too cheap: Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Bayer Leverkusen’s Victor Boniface and Internazionale’s Lautaro Martínez, will all cost huge fees, too, and from clubs less willing to sell than Brentford. Under Osimhen’s recent renewal his release clause rose to a mere €130m. There’s Kylian Mbappé, too, his PSG contract coming to its summer close. Real Madrid still want him, and will pay him £23m a season, so clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool – also linked – have that to live with.
How might Arsenal pay for him? Crystal Palace want Eddie Nketiah to return to his south London roots. Mohamed Elneny is attracting interest from Trabzonspor but Besiktas, Galatasaray and Saudi clubs are exploring conditions of the move. Emile Smith Rowe and Aaron Ramsdale are for sale, but only at premium prices.
So, what else is in the offing: Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, on loan at Getafe and unlikely to ever play again for his parent club, is linked with transfers to Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, at a fee of £40m. He might even get to inherit the No 10 shirt, as worn by, well quite a few good players, with one particularly coming to mind. The United midfielder Donny van de Beek, someone unable to get into this United team, is meanwhile headed for Eintracht Frankfurt on a loan move and the expectation that Raphaël Varane leaves Manchester lingers.
Tottenham, their small squad racked by injury, are looking at defensive cover, and Genoa’s Romania defender Radu Dragusin is linked, with a move for Lyon’s Jean-Clair Todibo becoming more unlikely to be completed in January rather than in the summer. Lyon, meanwhile, want West Ham’s maverick Saïd Benrahma.
Kalvin Phillips’s time at Manchester City has not gone to plan, and neither is his mooted move to Juventus. Max Allegri, the Juve coach, is having second thoughts on that.
Well, 2023 didn’t exactly go to plan, did it?

Here in the UK, the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, had promised us a government of stability and competence – not forgetting professionalism, integrity and accountability – after the rollercoaster ride of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. Remember Liz? These days she seems like a long forgotten comedy act. Instead, Sunak took us even further through the looking-glass into the Conservative psychodrama.
Elsewhere, the picture has been no better. In the US, Donald Trump is now many people’s favourite to become president again. In Ukraine, the war has dragged on with no end in sight. The danger of the rest of the world getting battle fatigue and losing interest all too apparent. Then there is the war in the Middle East and not forgetting the climate crisis …
But a new year brings new hope. There are elections in many countries, including the UK and the US. We have to believe in change. That something better is possible. The Guardian will continue to cover events from all over the world and our reporting now feels especially important. But running a news gathering organisation doesn’t come cheap.
So this year, I am asking you – if you can afford it – to give money. Well, not to me personally – though you can if you like – but to the Guardian. By supporting the Guardian from just $2 per month, we will be able to continue our mission to pursue the truth in all corners of the world.
With your help, we can make our journalism free to everyone. You won’t ever find any of our news reports or comment pieces tucked away behind a paywall. We couldn’t do this without you. Unlike our politicians, when we say we are in this together we mean it.
Happy new year!

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