The ground-breaking £100m West Ham striker swoop that would seriously disrupt Arsenal and Chelsea's summer

The Hammers are being linked with a bold summer transfer move
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You can't fault the ambition. For the longest while now, it has been assumed that Ivan Toney will end up at one of the traditional 'big six' this summer. Brentford, for their part, seem resigned to his inevitable exit, and there is nothing about the striker's general demeanour that suggests he wouldn't jump ship if an offer came along. But while one of the Premier League's heaviest hitters have looked the most likely to provide a destination for the England international, it would now appear that West Ham have also thrown their proverbial hat into the proverbial ring. Again, you really can't fault the ambition.

According to a report from Football Insider, the Hammers are intent on making a 'statement signing' at the point of attack in the coming months, and have identified Toney as one prospective target. Thirty six goals in 78 Premier League outings since 2021 would suggest that the 28-year-old could be the man to finally rejuvenate an attack which currently consists of an injury-prone Michail Antonio, an inconsistent Danny Ings, and an unproven Divin Mubama.

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Whether West Ham can actually afford to make a deal happen, however, remains to be seen. It is understood that Brentford will demand anywhere between £60 million and £100 million for their prize asset, and certainly, if the bidding were to approach the upper end of that bracket, you would imagine that the Irons might struggle to go toe-to-toe with other clubs in the division. Hell, even at £60 million it could be a push.

But there are causes for optimism in East London. Of the clubs that have been linked with Toney, the general consensus was that Chelsea and Arsenal were leading the race for his signature. In recent weeks, however, doubts have sprung up; the Blues may well be facing a summer of financial pressures that curtail the kind of exorbitant spending which has hallmarked the Todd Boehly era up to this point, while the Gunners appear to have cooled their interest slightly, and could instead look to pursue other similarly-priced options.

For West Ham, that can only be good news. In the first instance, it ensures that competition for Toney will not be as stiff, while the likelihood is that a scarcer chasing pack would lead to a lower price tag too.

Money aside, though, it is unclear whether life at the London Stadium would be suit Toney and his obvious ambitions. While West Ham have, generally speaking, been on an upwards trajectory under David Moyes, they are not the Champions League qualification hopefuls that many anticipated the forward leaving Brentford for. The hope, of course, would be that he could help to turn them into exactly that, but whether he has the desire to take such a gamble, only he will know.

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Then again, perhaps he won't have much of a choice. If some of his more illustrious suitors do drop out of the race to sign him, Toney could be left with a dilemma between joining a club like West Ham, or staying where he is for the time being. In that scenario, perhaps the Hammers would represent a form of career progression that the striker could come to terms with.

But even if the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal do stay the course and make concrete attempts to prise him away from the Bees, one thing is seemingly pretty clear; West Ham are going to do all they can to disrupt their efforts.

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