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Blackburn Rovers are itching to get back into the Championship at the first time of asking and as such need a strike force capable of spearheading their title challenge.
Bringing in players capable of outplaying their peers in a division, usually don’t come in under budget. But in the case of Ivan Toney, the Lancashire club may be able to grab themselves a summer transfer bargain.
Toney signed for Premier League Newcastle United in 2015 from League Two Northampton Town and was subsequently loaned out to Barnsley – a League One side at the time. The young striker hit just 1 goal in 18 league appearances and at the time he clearly had a way to go in his development.
Despite Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship in 2016, Toney struggled to make an impact at a club boasting Dwight Gayle, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez among their ranks with Adam Armstrong (who was sent out on loan to Barnsley as well).
Toney spent the first half of the season in League One at Shrewsbury Town, playing 19 league games and scoring 6 times. The second half of his third tier campaign was spent at Scunthorpe United, this time bringing about 7 goals in 17 games in what has proven to be a steady climb for the young forward at this level.
The fact that Toney has been loaned out three times to League One clubs shows he has not proven himself to be above that level as yet and would presumably be open to another move to this division. The positive point about his profile thus far though, is the clear improvement he has shown on each try at this level.
13 goals in 36 appearances last season is not the worst record you’ll find, given the disruptions to his season, and it would be easy to see Toney getting beyond 20 league goals in League One from now on. The Northampton-born striker is just 21 years old and has plenty more to offer, with only a small transfer fee expected from Newcastle now, who simply have no room for him in their squad right now.
Moving up to a higher level than League One right now may not be advisable, as a poor season goals-wise could damage Toney’s confidence in the long-term. So this looks like a fine match. Blackburn could do a lot worse than making a move for Toney in the close season.