Brentford are not expecting this to be an especially busy transfer window.
The club have already moved to bring in forward Kevin Schade from Freiburg on an initial loan deal with the plan to purchase him for around £20m in the summer.
It follows the summer signings of Aaron Hickey from Bologna for up to £18m, Keane Lewis-Potter from Hull City for a fee which could rise to £20m, and Mikkel Damsgaard for up to £16.7m.
The signing of long-term target Schade means Brentford have likely already done a large chunk of their January business, but there are still some questions that may have to be answered this month.
Sign a striker because of a possible ban for Ivan Toney?
Toney has been in tremendous form this season and has scored four goals in the past three games he has played in – two against Manchester City and one against both Spurs and West Ham.
But were Toney found guilty of the more than 250 alleged breaches of FA betting rules he has been charged with, any ban would leave Brentford without their talisman.
Toney also sustained an injury against West Ham which saw him stretchered off late in the game, though boss Thomas Frank says it is “not significant” and does not expect him to miss much game time.
An outstanding performance against Liverpool in which a front two of Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa both impressed, and scored, in a 3-1 win allayed some fears of the impact a lengthy Toney absence would have on Brentford, but there is no doubting that he would certainly be a big miss for the Bees.
It’s not just his goals which are so important for Frank’s side – scoring 12 in 16 league games so far this season – but also his aerial strength, off the ball play and ability to hold the ball up.
The chances of Brentford signing a like-for-like replacement for Toney are very slim given his unique skillset. But, unsurprisingly, the Bees are in the market for a striker this month.
Quality strikers are very hard to come by, especially in January, and the performances of Mbeumo and Wissa will provide encouragement that Brentford have the depth to cope without Toney, while the signing of Schade further bolsters the attacking options. But signing a target man type striker should be top of Brentford’s list for the remainder of the month.
Make a decision on the goalkeepers
David Raya has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League since Brentford were promoted and his performances have not gone unnoticed by his national team, earning a call up to the squad for Spain’s World Cup campaign.
But with just 18 months left on his current deal, Brentford must either persuade the 27-year-old to extend his contract, or either sell him in January or the summer. Otherwise, they risk losing a talented player for no fee.
Brentford do not want to sell Raya and discussions have been held about extending his deal. He is open to staying but, so far, those discussions are yet to result in any agreement being reached and there has been no progress made of late.
Raya already has admirers both in the Premier League and across Europe, including Ajax, and will have no shortage of suitors if he becomes available on a free transfer. If Brentford and Raya cannot agree a new deal, they will need to sell him if they are to get a return for losing him.
He has previously spoken of his desire to play Champions League football, telling West London Sport in May: “To play in the Champions League is another dream.
“It’s a dream every footballer has and hopefully I can achieve that. Hopefully we can achieve that with Brentford one day.”
The club moved to shore up their depth at the goalkeeper spot in the summer while also protecting themselves against a potential Raya exit by bringing in Thomas Strakosha after he left Italian side Lazio.
But Strakosha has not managed to displace Raya as Brentford’s number one and his agent, Federico Pastorello, has described the situation as “awkward”.
“Maybe they were thinking of selling their goalkeeper, I don’t know,” he told TMW, via Football Italia.
“But clearly, it’s a situation that we’ve only been in for a short time and it’s a bit awkward today because for a goalkeeper who has over 200 games in Serie A with Lazio to find himself not playing at Brentford is not easy.
“It’s an anomaly. He’s asked me to find a solution, let’s see, he’s one of those players who could be part of the goalkeeping market that will arise from (Manuel) Neuer’s injury.
“We have our ears to the ground to listen to the opportunities that will come, I wouldn’t be surprised if something turns up in January also because Brentford themselves have understood the boy’s embarrassment in this situation.”
Strakosha’s lack of playing time has also been due to injury, having suffered an ankle ligament issue after saving a penalty from Kristoffer Ajer in training. He is, however, close to becoming available for selection once again, according to Frank.
When asked about Strakosha’s agent’s comments, Frank said he “hasn’t spoken” to Strakosha or his agent about the comments and his lack of playing time.
“I guess he will knock on my door if there are any issues,” Frank said.
“I meet him every day, he has a smile on his face, he works hard, and he wants to come back. I think he’s been very unlucky.”
But questions remain as to who will be Brentford’s first-choice goalkeeper long-term.
Should the Bees cash in on Raya now and promote Strakosha? Should they let Strakosha leave and continue trying to agree a new deal with Raya? Or do they leave things as they are and kick the can down the road?
Decide on the futures of fringe, loan and out-of-favour players
There are several other players whose Brentford futures need to be resolved in the near future.
The Bees have already recalled Fin Stevens and Mads Bech Sorensen from their respective loan spells at Swansea and Nice, with the club’s current injury problems at right-back with Aaron Hickey and Kristoffer Ajer still sidelined a factor in Stevens being recalled.
Central defender Daniel Oyegoke has also returned to the club from his loan spell at MK Dons.
Another player who the Bees are considering recalling is Halil Dervisoglu, who has spent the season so far out on loan at Burnley but has found himself out of favour since joining and has made just six substitute appearances in the league, scoring once in a 3-2 win over Rotherham.
Central defender Charlie Goode has found himself down the pecking order this season and has also missed game time through injury. The 27-year-old played six times in the Premier League last season before joining Sheffield United on loan in January, though struggled for game time at the Championship club.
He looks likely to move elsewhere again his month, whether that be on loan or permanently.
But barring any significant exits, the Bees are unlikely to splash out big for more players this window.