Why Tottenham should not be ruled out of Ivan Toney transfer race

Why Tottenham should not be ruled out of Ivan Toney transfer race

Tottenham were seconds away from having Heung-min Son back for Saturday's game at Everton but South Korea's 99th-minute equaliser and subsequent win on penalties against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night booked their place in the Asian Cup quarter-finals, ensuring he will be away a little longer.

In the meantime, Spurs will have to make do with what they have got in the final third, continuing with Wednesday night's visit of Brentford.

Ange Postecoglou's side were lacking a cutting edge in Friday's 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Manchester City, managing just one shot on the night — a tame Brennan Johnson effort, with goalkeeper Stefan Ortega already at his feet.

It was Spurs's first blank under Postecoglou, and first in over 10 months, and until Son returns there is concern over where the goals will come from.

Richarlison is in good touch, with six goals in his past eight games, but doubts remain over whether the Brazilian is a sharp enough finisher to be their leading man in attack long-term.

Heung-min Son celebrates South Korea reaching the Asian Cup quarter-finals (REUTERS)
Heung-min Son celebrates South Korea reaching the Asian Cup quarter-finals (REUTERS)

Johnson has scored just once in 17 appearances for the club, while Timo Werner has made it clear he does not expect to be "the main man who scores the goals" at Spurs.

One of the speedy wingers may drop out tonight to accommodate James Maddison, who is in contention for his first start since November after coming through a cameo against City unscathed.

Maddison's return, which could see Dejan Kulusevski pushed into the front three, should increase Spurs's attacking threat, giving them another creative outlet at the expense of a runner to service the front line, but without Son there is still no instinctive finisher up front.

The same is not true for Brentford any more, and Ivan Toney has the quality to show up Spurs's shortcomings in the final third after scoring on his return against Nottingham Forest 11 days ago.

Brentford were diminished without their talisman but transformed across the pitch against Forest, with Toney adding bite in attack while knowing when to drift wide or drop back to No10 — as Harry Kane does so well.

Ivan Toney can punish Spurs this evening (Getty Images)
Ivan Toney can punish Spurs this evening (Getty Images)

The 27-year-old is all but certain to leave the Bees in the summer and Spurs have been only tentatively linked, with Arsenal and Chelsea currently leading the pack of interested clubs.

Toney, though, ticks a lot of boxes for Spurs — homegrown, ambitious, Premier League-proven and with a rags-to-riches backstory (relatively speaking) which might appeal to Postecoglou, who likes signing players who have come up through the lower divisions.

Brentford's asking price, about £80-100million, is assumed to rule Spurs out but, financially they are in a position of strength, operating comfortably within profit and sustainability rules as they reap the benefits of their new stadium.

Could Spurs make Toney their statement signing in the summer, signalling their intent to kick on, their equivalent of Arsenal paying £105m for Declan Rice?

Stranger things have happened, especially as it increasingly seems likely that Spurs will soon need another top-class forward to decrease their reliance on Son.