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Arsenal eye Osimhen, Boniface as alternatives to Ivan Toney

Arsenal eye Osimhen, Boniface as alternatives to Ivan Toney

Two Nigerian strikers Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface are part of the three strikers Arsenal are reportedly interested in as potential replacement for Brentford’s Ivan Toney, who might be unavailable for the Gunners in the January transfer window.

The Bees star is serving a ban for violating FA betting rules and has been one of the best scorers in the Premier League, but his club are not ready to sell him in January.

According to CBS Sports, Arsenal have not made any serious move for the 27-year-old, who scored 20 goals last season, only behind Harry Kane and Erling Haaland. Instead, the Gunners are keeping an eye on three other prolific forwards who are doing well in Europe, but could also be difficult to sign.

One of them is Victor Osimhen, who helped Napoli win the Serie A title last season and signed a new contract with a £113million release clause. The Nigerian international, 25, has been linked with Arsenal for a long time, but his price tag could be a big problem.

Osimhen is one of the most successful Nigerian players in Europe and a fan favourite in his home country.

Another option is Lautaro Martinez, who has been outstanding for Inter Milan this season, contributing 19 goals or assists in 16 league games. The Argentine, 24, is a key player for the Serie A leaders, who are aiming for a league title and may not want to lose him.

The third name on the list is Victor Boniface, who has been a sensation for Bayer Leverkusen in his first season in Germany. The tall striker, 22, joined from Belgian club Union Saint-Gilloise and has been unstoppable, scoring 10 goals in 16 Bundesliga matches.

The Gunners are said to be impressed by his performances, but they may face competition from other clubs.

Both Osimhen and Boniface are part of Nigeria’s 25-man squad to the African Cup of Nations, which will kick off in Ivory Coast on January 14 next year. This means that they will be away from their clubs for at least a month, and may not be keen to switch teams in the middle of the season. Arsenal may have to wait until the summer to make a move for either of them, or look for other options in the January transfer window.

Arsenal have a large fan base in Nigeria, who would love to see Osimhen or Boniface join their club after club legend Nwankwo Kanu made the club popular in Nigeria and across Africa in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Gunners also have a Nigerian-born star in their ranks, Bukayo Saka, who was born and raised in England but has Nigerian parents.

Arsenal’s sporting director Edu is eager to add more firepower to Mikel Arteta’s squad, who have struggled to score goals this season. However, he may have to look elsewhere if he cannot land any of his preferred targets.

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