Following Brentford’s comfortable 3-0 home win over West London rivals Queens Park Rangers, Bees boss Thomas Frank was quick to admit that star man Neal Maupay’s future could lie elsewhere.
The Frenchman bagged his 20th league goal of the campaign in the surprisingly straightforward win over Steve McClaren’s Rangers, and questions from local journalists prompted Frank to insist that Brentford’s position in the footballing hierarchy was as a “selling club.”
The Dane did not seem to think this was a derogatory statement about the club, adding that there are “only 10 clubs in the world who are not selling clubs.” For supporters, it can be a bitter pill to swallow to admit that your best players are constantly at the mercy of bigger and better clubs, who can cherry-pick the most promising talent at will. Still, it appears that Frank is keen to embrace the fact that Brentford is a mere stepping stone for players such as Maupay.
Brentford and Maupay have grown in stature together
Maupay and Brentford have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship over the last couple of years, with the Bees giving Maupay a platform to impress, and Maupay helping to cement the Bees as a solid Championship club. The West Londoners have grown in commercial stature off the pitch, too. The club’s new Lionel Road stadium is well underway, set to become West London’s newest and most innovative sporting arena, which will attract fresh, outside interest from sponsors. Fast-emerging iGaming brand LeoVegas has been the Bees’ official short and title sponsors for the last two seasons, which underlines the progress the club has made. The Swedish firm has long specialized in the burgeoning mobile form of iGaming, but as yet, has shown no appetite to innovate further and become an .
Brentford’s improved status off the field has also meant that players are increasingly attracted to play for the Bees. Frank also revealed that many of the club’s signings choose Brentford as they know they’ll have the best possible chance to further their playing career with the platform provided at Griffin Park. The new head coach said he knew “for a fact that players love to play here and stay here and want to develop.” After the comprehensive dispatching of QPR, Frank insisted he was “just pleased that [his squad] is together and learning.”
How will the 2018/19 season end for the Bees?
Griffin Park has been a happy hunting ground of late for the Bees. The week before Brentford’s 3-0 win over the Rangers, Frank’s men confidently dispatched Hull City 5-1 on home soil. There was a time when the club looked over its shoulder at the relegation trapdoor, but Frank appears to have steadied the ship, giving Brentford a shot at a top-half finish.
In-demand forward Neal Maupay has even suggested that they with only eight points separating the Bees with sixth-placed Bristol City. However, given that 11 teams separate Bristol City and Brentford, there will be plenty of other teams that feel the same. Whether Frank and Brentford can build on a top-half finish for next season will depend mostly on which key players stick around for the 2019/20 campaign. And it’s highly likely that Maupay will attract the attention of top-flight clubs both here and abroad. Algerian wide man, Saïd Benrahma, with eight goals and 11 assists, has reportedly caught . Ollie Watkins could also be a target with the former Exeter City youth player seemingly having all the physical and technical attributes to play in the Premier League.
Should Maupay, Benrahma and Watkins leave Griffin Park for pastures anew in the summer, it will be nothing different for the Bees faithful. The likes of Scott Hogan, John Egan, Chris Mepham, Andre Gray and Adam Forshaw have moved on to bigger and better things before, and the club’s recruitment policy has enabled them to find suitable replacements. However, for a club in the shadow of so many wealthier London clubs, Brentford’s sustainable transfer strategy still pays dividends.