Former Arsenal player Theo Walcott, now a pundit, drew comparisons between January transfer target Ivan Toney and ex-Gunners striker Olivier Giroud.
Walcott, analyzing Arsenal’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool, highlighted Gabriel Magalhaes’ early goal and Mohamed Salah’s equalizer due to defensive vulnerabilities.
While content with a point from Anfield, Walcott hinted at Mikel Arteta’s recognition of the need for attacking reinforcement, expressing, “I just feel like Mikel (Arteta) will deep down know what he needs, but we don’t want to dwell on it.”
During the discussion, fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp brought up Arsenal’s rumoured interest in Brentford’s Ivan Toney. Walcott, cautious about Toney’s lack of top-tier experience, drew a parallel between Toney and Giroud, acknowledging Arsenal’s need for a particular style of forward.
“I would be cautious of that because he hasn’t played,” Walcott confessed. “He’s a forward that is similar to Olivier Giroud which Arsenal used to have, which I was a big fan of.
“They are slightly missing something but defensively, they have been solid and have won titles with their defence alone – I just feel like they were better than last season.”
Acknowledging Arsenal’s defensive strength, Walcott emphasized the slight missing element in their attacking line, suggesting improvements from the previous season. However, despite Toney’s prowess, competition for his signature includes interest from Chelsea, with the striker nearing the end of a ban for breaching FA betting rules.
While Arsenal eyes potential striking options, such as Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, the club could face financial constraints, especially after Osimhen signed a new deal featuring a hefty release clause of £130 million. Arteta had previously stated the club’s intention not to seek a mid-season striker, citing confidence in the existing forward roster despite current injuries.
“We’re not thinking at all about that,” he explained. “We have really good players up front. It’s true that right now we have some injuries. We will continue with the players we have.”