Ivan Toney has dropped a major transfer hint just hours after the end of his football ban.
The Brentford striker has not played for the Bees since May after he accepted 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules. Toney’s eight-month ban expired on Wednesday, meaning he could return to action when his side take on Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Some clubs might not have stuck by a player slapped with such a heavy ban, with Toney admitting he has “a lot to repay” the club and its supporters for.
Last week the 27-year-old told Sky Sports: “Everyone knows Brentford is a family club, they have been nothing but amazing for me. I can’t thank them enough, especially the fans. They were behind me from the first minute. So it’s kind of like I have a lot to repay.”
However, just hours after his ban expired, Toney struck a different tone. In another interview with Sky Sports, the England striker confessed that hisgoal is to play for a “top club”, and even suggested that he could leave Brentford before the January transfer window closes in two weeks.
“You can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere,”he said. “It’s obvious I’d like to play for a top club, everybody wants to play for the top clubs, fighting for titles and these kinds of things. So whether it’s this January for a club to come in and pay the right money, who knows? But my main focus is doing what I do on the pitch and let the background work take care of itself.”
Toney has been linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea in the past, while he has admitted to being a Liverpool fan. However, Brentford manager Thomas Frank has made it clear the striker is not for sale.
“The very short answer is yes. He is a Brentford player,” Frank said earlier this month when asked if Toney will stay at the club beyond January.
“He is here, we miss a few offensive players and I cannot see why we should sell him. I would love to have him here for a long time. It is not for me to discuss [an offer], but if I could ever recommend one, it would need to be an unbelievable price, so he will stay here.”
If Frank gets his way, then Toney’s return could not come at a better time for the Bees. The London club are winless in their last five Premier League outings and find themselves just three points above the relegation zone.