What Does 2024 Have in Store for Brentford?

Brentford secured a place in the top flight for the first time in 74 years after beating Swansea City in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium in 2021.

The Bees had been in the Championship for seven consecutive seasons before they made the leap to the Premier League.

Manager Thomas Frank guided Brentford to a 13th place finish in their first season, collecting several major scalps including Arsenal and Chelsea. They did not just survive – they thrived.  

Brentford built on their impressive finish last term, climbing into the top half of the table. Striker Ivan Toney notched 20 goals and four assists to lead his side to ninth place.

Their campaign included an impressive 12-match unbeaten run between October and March which almost fired them to a European qualification spot.

However, the Bees have struggled this term and are in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle during the second half of the season.

The recent 4-1 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers was their fourth game without a win and Frank desperately needs to find a way to halt the slide.

With that in mind, we analyse what 2024 has in store for Brentford.

January & Summer Transfer Windows

The upcoming transfer windows are crucial for Brentford. The recent losses have exposed defensive vulnerabilities and shoring up the rearguard is the number one priority.

The loss to Wolves was filled with several poor performances from Brentford’s backline as the usually alert defence failed to repel a cross to the back post for Mario Lemina’s opener.

To compound their woes, a horrendous pass from Republic of Ireland defender Nathan Collins allowed Hwang Hee-chan to score the second.

The Irishman also gifted a goal to Jeanricner Bellegarde in a performance that left many people questioning why the club saw fit to spend £23 million on him last summer.

Many of his compatriots will have been bemoaning their own luck having wagered heavily on Brentford to secure another top-half finish this season.

A measure of how far the Bees have fallen can be found on several betting apps, which have slashed their odds to be relegated to 11/1 following the defeat against Wolves.

Irish punters may now be looking at Collins’ displays and thinking those odds represent decent value, particularly with several teams below Brentford showing improved form.

However, with Toney set to return to action in January following a lengthy spell in the sidelines, Brentford should be able to steer clear of trouble.

Toney has netted 68 goals in 124 matches for Brentford. He is a focal point and target man, using his strength to hold off challenges before linking play with his teammates. 

Resolving the Toney Conundrum

Having let the club down badly by breaching football’s betting regulations, Toney owes it to them to spearhead their drive away from trouble this season. 

Toney would have been the subject of keen transfer interest if not for the ban and potential suitors will likely steer clear of moving for him until next summer.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly interested in Toney, but Brentford will be desperate to retain his services.

Brentford have placed a £100 million valuation on the Northampton-born attacker, which should be enough to keep interested clubs at bay in January.

Getting to the end of the season with their Premier League status intact would give Brentford the chance to reset by selling Toney and using the funds to improve the squad.

While another top half finish is not beyond Brentford if Toney hits the ground running, steering clear of the relegation zone is the ultimate aim.

The next few months will tell us much about Frank’s ability to manage in times of trouble and whether Toney has the character to remain loyal to Brentford.

Collins also has a point to prove over the next few months, particularly given how much faith the club placed in him at the start of the season.