Former Arsenal attacker Ian Wright has claimed that his old side will be unable to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season unless they sign Ivan Toney in January.
Mikel Arteta’s side fought City for the title last season but fell short at the crucial point, missing out on the title by a few points.
This season, they have started brightly, pipping the Cityzens to the Community Shield on penalties while also defeating the champions in their first Premier League game of the season.
As such, they currently sit in second position, two points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side just before the international break. The win was a landmark moment for the Gunners, marking the first they have beaten City in the Premier League since 2015.
The win also sent out a message to the rest of the league that Arsenal do better than their second-place finish from last season.
But while Arteta’s side remain unbeaten in the top flight, they have dropped points against Fulham and Tottenham when they were guilty of missing big chances.
As a result, Wright believes that Arsenal’s lack of a quality goal-scoring forward could prevent them from going all the way. The former Arsenal admitted that current striking options Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus have plenty of good traits about them but urged the Gunners to spend on a striker in January.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney, who is currently serving an eight-month ban for betting offences, is the man Wright is recommending for Arteta.
“We spread goals out last season, and it took us to a certain place,” Wright told The Overlap’s Stick To Football podcast with Sky Bet.
“I think with Toney, the links won’t go away as it’s blatantly obvious to see that focal point, that player who scores, that takes you somewhere else.
“You can’t question the endeavour of Eddie (Nketiah) or (Gabriel) Jesus, but you look back at the Tottenham game with the Jesus chance. For a player of that calibre to be in that position 1-0 up, those chances have to be buried.
“The margins are so small now you can’t afford to be missing chances like that and not winning games. The work off the ball is fantastic for both players.
“The Toney links don’t go away because, for me, that is the last piece of the jigsaw. He’ll do it if it can be done.”
Arsenal’s top scorers last season were Martinelli and Martin Odegaard, with the duo scoring 15 times, whereas Jesus and Nketiah only scored that amount between them.
However, Toney scored 20 goals for Brentford during the 2022-23 campaign before his ban from football after admitting 232 betting offences. He will be allowed to return to playing from January 16 onwards.
Meanwhile, Arsenal return to action after the international break with a trip to Chelsea on October 21 before hosting struggling Sheffield United the following week.