Thomas Frank has declared he understands why Brentford supporters may be fearing the departure of Ivan Toney after their banned talisman switched agents. The development has surfaced just days after the England international detailed his desire to explore a new challenge should the right opportunity present itself as he outlined his admiration for both Liverpool and Arsenal.
Toney will be free to return to action on January 17 after he was slapped with an eight-month ban for breaching the FA’s betting regulations.
But it appears he is open to leaving Brentford as the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United weigh up a winter swoop for his services.
Brentford would value Toney at close to £80million but even still, they do not plan on letting Toney depart as he remains key to their future plans.
Nonetheless, Bees boss Frank acknowledges that Toney’s decision to switch agents to CAA Stellar is likely to spark concern in west London.
Frank said on Friday: “Yes I can understand fans might be worried – but they are probably worried about a lot of our players.
“There are only maybe six clubs or less that are not selling clubs. And we are a selling club, at the right price. And in this market that is a very big price.
“And what may have done for him…that goes both ways. He has done a lot for us. It has been a fantastic partnership and still is. I expect him to play for us in January.
“Ivan is such a good player that has performed so well for us that you can understand other clubs looking at him and thinking ‘he is good’. Even not playing.
“He is not injured, just out though not allowed to train which is still strange.
“And it is natural to have ambitions to win silverware, and have other teams that you either supported as a boy or admire. He has attracted attention for quite a while.
“As a No9 he is among the top 10 strikers in the world, there aren’t many above him in terms of level. I would love to win some silverware here with Ivan.”
Toney will be free to return to training with Brentford next month – even though he cannot play in matches.
The striker said during a recent appearance on Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett: “Yeah, I’ve been a Liverpool fan my whole life but from young, I’ve liked Arsenal. I’ve liked watching Arsenal. I like how they play and kind of how passionate the fans are.”
Brentford remain in the market for a forward but they are set to fall short in their attempts to land Nicolas Gonzalez from Fiorentina.
The Bees’ latest bid worth £34.2m has been rejected by La Viola who have little interest in a sale.
Fiorentina CEO Joe Barone has ruled out a sale, stating: “We want to thank Brentford, they sent another bid for Nico but he will NOT leave the club.
“He’s key player for us. He’s not for sale and he won’t be available on the market.”