BACK Jimmy Johnson Aug 22nd 2023 Manchester United have been linked with a shocking swoop for Brentford striker Ivan Toney, according to a report from Football Transfers. With Toney’s current footballing ban, which he was given after he was found guilty of betting on football whilst being a professional player, United will not be able to complete a deal until January 2024. United are in need of depth in the striker position. They have already brought Rasmus Hojlund to the club for a total fee of £70 million, but Erik Ten Hag is looking to further bolster his options at centre-forward in the summer window. Last season, Toney scored 21 goals in 35 appearances across all competitions for the Bees, before his season was cut short after the implementation of his footballing ban. Who else, besides Manchester United, are interested in a move for Ivan Toney? Manchester United are not the only club who are keen to bring Toney on board in January – he has also been linked with moves to clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the summer transfer window. In a recent interview, Toney has also revealed that he is a ‘lifelong’ Liverpool supporter – something that will no doubt rub Red Devils fans the wrong way – but there is no reported interest on the Reds’ end as of yet. Will Ivan Toney be the same player upon his return? This is a difficult question to answer – not only is Toney banned from playing football, he is prohibited from partaking in any footballing activities – which includes training. While Toney will be doing whatever he can in his own time to ensure he stays match fit, there is no substitute for training alongside your teammates. He will not have the same quality of equipment available to him, nor will he be able to simulate the experience of playing in a Premier League fixture until his bans expires. Nevertheless, Toney’s natural talent is superlative. His raw ability should be enough to keep him playing at the highest level – but do not be too surprised if he is rusty for a few games when he returns to action.