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BEE STING

Ivan Toney has the potential to be a devastating secret weapon this season

The extent to which prolific Championship strikers are able to carry their success to the Premier League stage upon promotion is an eternal debate.

And it’s more relevant than ever given Patrick Bamford’s unexpectedly impressive 2020/21 campaign.

Having faced considerable criticism for his wastefulness in the second tier, Leeds’ No9 scored 17 league goals last season, a tally only bettered by Bruno Fernandes, Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane.

Ollie Watkins was able able to thrive after after joining Aston Villa from Brentford last summer, scoring 14 league goals.

Now all eyes turn to the man who replaced Watkins in west London, Ivan Toney.


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Toney opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the play-off final

PA
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Toney opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the play-off final

The ex-Newcastle striker scored 33 goals as the Bees earned promotion to the top flight through the play-offs.

Thomas Frank encourages his side to play entertaining, attacking football and Toney has proven to be even more clinical in the centre-forward position than those who came before him, Watkins and Neal Maupay.

Naturally, a 33-goal campaign has put Dream Team gaffers on alert ahead of the new season.

Toney has a starting price of £2.5m, making him cheaper than Christian Benteke (£3.0m), Jarrod Bowen (£3.0m) and Bertrand Traore (£3.0m).

The 25-year-old is a potential secret weapon of the highest order – secret in the sense that casual fans who only follow the Premier League will be unaware of his efforts in recent seasons.

Can Toney ‘do a Bamford’ in 2021/22?

reuters
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Can Toney ‘do a Bamford’ in 2021/22?

Selecting Toney comes with risk of course.

He was playing for Peterborough in League One the season before last and a second successive jump in standard may be difficult to negotiate smoothly.

After all, for every Bamford there are several other forwards who failed to adapt after securing promotion to the Premier League.

And newly promoted teams are often unknown entities, particularly clubs like Brentford who haven’t been in the top flight since the 1940s.

However, Wolves, Sheffield United and Leeds have shown what’s possible upon promotion with the right approach.

And Brentford’s style of football certainly has the potential to catch more than a few Premier League sides off guard this coming season.

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Frank’s troops start their campaign against Arsenal in the league’s curtain-raiser before taking on Crystal Palace and Aston Villa before the end of August.

At the time of writing, 6.3% of Dream Team bosses are willing to back Toney from the get-go.

He’s actually more popular than Marcus Rashford, Diogo Jota and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at this stage.