Thomas Frank has delivered Arsenal a blow in regards to their pursuit of striker Ivan Toney.
The Brentford manager conducted his first pre-match press conference since the opening of the winter transfer window, and it was understandably all about Toney.
The England striker is due to return from a ban for gambling breaches in time for their next Premier League match on January 20, but he’s the centre of attention for other reasons too.
Toney, who managed a whopping 20 league goals last season, is the subject of plenty of transfer speculation, with both Arsenal and Chelsea heavily-linked to the forward.
With his current deal expiring in 2025, now might be the time to cash in, but Brentford’s worrying lack of goals suggests otherwise.
Manager Frank was asked how much money it would take to prise the £80million-rated striker away, with the 50-year-old insisting Toney is going nowhere in January.
“If I ever could recommend that, and it’s not for me to say yes or no, that’s Phil [Giles] or Matthew [Benham], it would need to be unbelievable, so he will stay here,” he said.
Adding more on his star man, the Dane bluntly said: “I don’t think I’ve had one press conference where I haven’t been talking about Ivan Toney in the last year.
“So yes you’re more than welcome to talk about Ivan, he’s a fantastic person and a fantastic player.
“He’s a Brentford player, he’s here, clearly we miss a few offensive players so I can’t see why we would sell him and I’d love to have him here for a longer time.”
The injury-hit Bees boast the worst current form in the Premier League with five straight defeats.
Next up is Wolves at home in the FA Cup, and Frank is confident that his team can turn things around with a little bit of luck.
He explained: “It’s about belief in the work we do, belief in the way we do things, belief in the players, analysing what we need to learn and the key areas adjust a bit.
“We looked at some offensive stats to break the half season down and I think apart from actual goals everything has gone up.
“More big chances, more shots on target, bigger expected goals compared to last year, more possession, more crosses, everything more, just exactly the same goals.
“It was the same thing with the defence, a lot of it was more positive, the only thing was we’d probably conceded a little more expected goals against, but last year we were incredible, we were among the best.”
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