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The real truth about Ivan Toney and Newcastle United

8 months ago

Fair to say that Ivan Toney has made a decent impression at Brentford.

Having brought in Ollie Watkins from Exeter and developed him into a very promising striker, Brentford sold him to Villa last summer (2020) for close to £30m and spent up to around £10m of that on Ivan Toney as a replacement, from then League One Peterborough.

Not only has Ivan Toney been a key figure in Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League, he also set a new record for goals in the Championship, including the play-offs he has scored 33 goals in 48 league appearances this season.

Heading back in time, Ivan Toney started his career at League Two Northampton Town, then on Graham Carr’s advice, Newcastle United bought the then 19 year old for £500,000.

At that point in summer 2015, the 19 year old striker had scored 11 goals in 53 League Two appearances.

Newcastle fans didn’t really give this low key signing much consideration, as that was the summer when Mike Ashley suddenly allowed spending of over £50m on Mitrovic, Mbemba, Thauvin and Wijnaldum. What could possibly go wrong…

That 2015/16 season saw Toney make two appearances in the Premier League for Newcastle United, his first and his last.

Five minutes each in home draws against Man Utd (3-3) and Chelsea (2-2).

To get Ivan Toney regular football, two loan spells that 2015/16 season, both at Barnsley. The striker scoring one goal in 18 League One appearances.

In other circumstances Newcastle United’s drop into the Championship might have opened the door for regular opportunities but Ivan Toney had done nothing to suggest he was at that level yet, plus Rafa Benitez brought in Dwight Gayle and had the likes of Mitro and Darryl Murphy as back up.

So 2016/17 saw Ivan Toney once again out on loan, at Shrewsbury and Scunthorpe, both in League One. An improved season of 13 goals in 36 third tier appearances.

Summer of 2017 and after that season of around one goal every three League One games, it was more experience of the same for Toney. This time Scunthorpe and Wigan, in 42 League One appearances in 2017/18, Ivan Toney managed 12 goals. Not bad / terrible but a bit down on the previous season and no real signs he was making big progress.

Summer of 2018 and after three years at Newcastle United, the now 22 year old had been out on loan six times and scored 26 goals in 96 third tier games.

Newcastle United getting a bid in from yet another League One club, they sold Ivan Toney for £500,000 getting their money back, plus clause entitling NUFC to another 30% of any future fee if Peterborough sold him.

That summer saw Mike Ashley really mess Rafa Benitez about, no net spend and instead insisting on a £20m+ profit on transfers in summer 2018. Even to be allowed to get Rondon on loan, Rafa had to agree to let Gayle go out on loan.

Meanwhile, in the midst of that, early August 2018 saw both Ivan Toney and Adam Armstrong leave. Neither making real headlines, just another couple of young strikers who to varying degrees had shown they could score at League One level but hadn’t really shown more than that. Time for a permanent new home for both and see if they could forge careers in the lower divisions.

In 2018/19, Ivan Toney scored 16 goals in 44 League One appearances for Peterborough, better but not anything suggesting massive improvement.

In 2019/20 though, a big step forward, 24 goals in 32 League One games and that earned Ivan Toney his step up to the Championship.

Newcastle banked another reported £3m last (2020) summer due to the 30% part of the £10m Peterborough sold him for.

The rest as they say is history, Ivan Toney now 25 and looking back at this 2020/21 season of 33 Championship goals, knowing he will be playing Premier League football for sure (unless heading abroad), whether that is with Brentford or elsewhere.

Brentford fans have been mocking Newcastle United for spending £40m on Joelinton as the Brazilian has scored six goals in 68 Premier League appearances. I’m not going to disagree with that one!

However, they are also of course trying to make the comparison and how on earth Ivan Toney was allowed to leave Newcastle for a pittance, only a year before £40m was wasted on the Brazilian striker.

I can excuse the Brentford fans, they have every reason to feel pleased with themselves and their club, especially the star striker, looking forward to their first ever Premier League season.

However, the Newcastle fans going mad, saying how ridiculous it was to let Ivan Toney go…

Where were you three years ago?

Nobody said anything when Toney left, yet you now have all these Johnny hindsights in black and white, calling the odds.

Yes Newcastle United are a mess of a club under Mike Ashley but these happen, you can’t keep every young player until they are in the mid-twenties just in case one of them suddenly steps up to another level. We would end up with a squad of Sammy Ameobis! Plus of course, if the likes of Ivan Toney (and Adam Armstrong) don’t get a permanent move out to a lower division club, they wouldn’t get the games anyway to develop, or the benefits of the surroundings of a permanent club at a lower level.

Good luck to Ivan Toney and Adam Armstrong, two young players who took a step back and have now climbed back to the very top (Adam Armstrong 28 goals in 40 Championship appearances this past season, is surely also going to end up in the top tier this summer).


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