Brentford head coach Thomas Frank believes refusing to sell Ivan Toney in January proves how far the club has come in recent years – but admits eventually “money talks” when it comes to holding on to his stars.

England striker Toney was reportedly a target for the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea during the transfer window.

The 27-year-old has recently returned to action for the Bees having served an eight-month ban after breaching Football Association gambling laws.

Ivan Toney made his one and only England appearance to date in a Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine

Toney has scored 34 goals in 68 top-flight games for the Bees and Frank insists the player will stay put after a month of speculation.

“This will be breaking news, OK – but Ivan will stay,” Frank said at his press conference previewing Monday’s clash with Manchester City.

Asked if he was happy that the window was closing just hours after his media duties would conclude, Frank replied: “Happy? Yes, but I was pretty sure as I said from the beginning that Ivan will stay with us so I was not worried about that.

“In general, it is nice to know what you are working with so in that situation, yes (I am happy).”

Despite rumours of a big-money move during the window, Frank and the club as a whole were steadfast throughout January that Toney would not be sold.

The former Newcastle forward is out of contract at the end of next season but Frank feels Brentford showed their strength in keeping hold of their sought-after striker, even if their transfer strategy dictates otherwise.

“Yes, I think with any player we have a contract in general so at the end of the day we decide if they leave or not,” he added when asked if rebuffing any interest in Toney showed the progress Brentford have made.

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“Of course money talks and we also know that we are a ‘selling’ club as you could call it – we know that is part of the strategy.

“We want to have young, talented players in, develop them and make them better. Be on a journey with us, improve and hopefully do some fantastic stuff in the league and maybe one day win something.

“But at the end of the day, after some years if they are good enough they will progress to the next level.”