LONDON : Brentford striker Ivan Toney declared himself ‘free’ on Wednesday after ending an eight month ban for 232 breaches of the betting rules and then fuelled transfer speculation by saying he wanted to play for a top club.
The 27-year-old England international, Brentford’s top scorer last season, posted a GIF on social media with the single word ‘free’.
Speaking to Sky Sports television, he spoke of future ambitions.
“You can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere, but I think it’s obvious I want to play for a top club,” said the player who is widely seen as an Arsenal and Chelsea target.
“Everybody wants to play for a top club, that is fighting for titles. Whether it’s this January that is the right time for a club to come in and pay the right money, who knows?,” he added.
Toney’s comments contrasted with an interview last week in which he thanked Brentford, a community club holding their own against Premier League giants, for being so supportive and said he was ready to repay them with goals to ease a relegation battle.
The West Londoners are 16th in the league, three points clear of the drop zone, and in need of more firepower as they grapple with absences and injuries.
Toney, who hopes to be included in England’s Euro 2024 squad, said his main job would be to do his talking on the pitch and “let the background work take care of itself.
“To be the best, you have to play with the best and compete against the best,” said the player, who is expected to make his return against Nottingham Forest in front of the home fans on Saturday.
“I feel like a free man. A massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t wait to get back to enjoying playing football again this Saturday. It’s a big day today but an even bigger day on Saturday,” he said.