Arsenal failed to get Ivan Toney in January - but they can sign an even better £112m alternative this summer

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Arsenal were linked with the Brentford striker during the January window, but could turn their attention to Napoli star Victor Osimhen this summer.

Rarely has a January felt more like a January. It was a month that lasted an epoch, brimming with boredom and sparse on happenings. The transfer window, draped in Sky Sports' patented sunflower yellow and hyped beyond measure, trundled and spluttered before eventually fizzling out into a nothingness, and even those deals that had seemed dead certs just a few short weeks prior ended up evaporating into the ether.

Take, for example, Ivan Toney. The common consensus was that, following the conclusion of his lengthy ban for gambling-related offences, the striker would return for a brief swansong in Brentford before saddling up and riding off for the bright lights of the top six this winter. Arsenal were linked, as were Chelsea and, to a lesser extent, Manchester United, but in the end, the 27-year-old stayed put.

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Indeed, none of Toney's suitors would sign a centre forward in January, meaning that all three will be in the market for reinforcements once again at the end of the season. And that could present them with opportunities that they might otherwise have been denied last month.

For Arsenal in particular, the main reason behind their lack of transfer activity was the hefty albatross of Financial Fair Play regulations. Having spent exorbitantly over the summer, the Gunners were limited in the funds that they had available to them during the winter window, and knew forking out upwards of £80 million, or however much Brentford would have eventually demanded for Toney, just wasn't realistic.

The summer will bring with it a renewed freedom, though. And to that end, Arsenal might be able to set their sights a touch higher than Toney. Victor Osimhen is expected to depart Napoli in the coming months, and the race for his signature could involve some of the biggest and most illustrious clubs in European football. Alongside the likes of the aforementioned United and Chelsea, Real Madrid have already been touted as admirers, and there are set to be plenty more besides.

It is easy to see why. The Nigerian has been nothing short of revelatory during his time in Italy, establishing himself as one of the most prolific strikers in world football with a return of 67 strikes in 119 outings, and a further 20 in 27 for his national team. He is, without exaggeration, swiftly becoming one of the hottest assets in the continental game. Dynamic, cunning, and lethal, he is something approaching the complete package.

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If reports are to be believed, Napoli could demand as much as £112 million for Osimhen in the summer - and he is perhaps one of the few players on the planet who can readily justify such a price tag.

Arsenal have shown that in the recent past that they are willing to spend big on key players who will vastly improve their squad in pivotal areas. Last summer, for instance, Declan Rice became the first nine-figure signing in the club's history. This time around, given their obvious need for a striker to compliment Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, plus the undeniable quality that Osimhen possesses, it would be no great surprise to see the Nigerian become the second.

The Gunners might have missed out on Toney, but they could be about to land themselves a better proposition entirely at the end of the season. A very dry January could lead to a particularly verdant summer.

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