Are we stronger after the transfer window closes?

2 Feb

The transfer window has closed. Burnley got their man (one of them, at least), Alan Judge remains a Bee (for now) but no real inward activity for Brentford. Given our considered approach and much-derided model, that shouldn’t come as any real surprise. But is it the right move?

To be quite honest, one always feels a pang of disappointment when we have no news about inward signings. Such is the way we have been conditioned in recent seasons to accept a flurry of crazy, last-minute action. Instead, we also saw several untried names depart and the return of one player from a loan.

For me, and given where we are, there are several points to draw from yesterday.

First up, and being realistic, we aren’t going to leave the Championship this season. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it to happen (upwards) but I think even the most optimistic of Brentford fans would accept this is as long a shot as a Nick Proschwitz hat trick. We’re 7(seven) points off a very strong play-off zone whilst current form isn’t great (4 wins in our last 13 games).

Instead, this will now be a period of consolidation. Which of the new boys can cut it and where will we really need to strengthen? Yoann Barbet and Maxime Colin have already shown they are class whilst Ryan Woods is getting better each game. Will the likes of Andy Gogia, Philipp Hofmann, Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Josh McEachran (who has also been in the rise in recent weeks after a disappointing start) be able to match the aforementioned players?

Don’t forget we have the untapped potential of Lewis Macleod still to be seen in first team action whilst record signing Andreas Bjelland and striker Scott Hogan continue their recovery from long term injury.


Yoann Barbet has certainly made an impression recently

What is of infinitely more importance is what we do over the much longer summer window that, this season at least, ran from June to September. Will Alan Judge be sold? Will Harlee get a new contract? Will we look to extend the likes of Jake Bidwell and David Button? Will we continue the shredding of the previous squad? Will we be looking up to the Barclays Premier League or down to the Ryman equivalent?

Yesterday’s article included the quote made by Rasmus Ankersen back in September, saying : “The goal is to get stronger after each transfer window.”

Are we stronger now? Well, in terms of current playing strength I’d have to disagree. Although not as ruthlessly as some might expect.

No squad could afford to lose the likes of Jota, Tarkowski or Toums and honestly say it was stronger. The flipside of this is that the emergence of Max Colin and Yoann Barbet in recent weeks, who we hadn’t really seen much of in the early season, has been like getting two new players. Josh has definitely improved and we have the potential of those three long-term injuries to look forward to.

Financially, we’re in a better position for sure although officially nobody knows how much we’ve been paid for anybody this season. The question will be how, if at all, will this be invested at the end of the season?

As for James Tarkowski, the sorry story comes to an end with the player certainly seeming pleased with his move. Nobody could knock what he did in his time at Griffin Park and it was a shame it all ended in such confusing, angry and emotional circumstances. You can’t knock anybody for wanting to be close to a sick family member and, perhaps, it’s best that’s where we should leave that side of things.

The only other point to make on the subject is Burnley – what was with the official ‘signing photo’ ? The brilliance of his shadow mullet, the 1970’s veneer effect boardroom and awkward pose have not been missed.

As for our lower key departures, Josh Laurent is already at Hartlepool whilst Ryan Williams has been snapped up by football’s greatest tweeters – Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Few could dispute that Montell Moore has had his own issues and so, perhaps, a fresh start is best for all. Time will tell on that one.

I must admit, I did have to perform a double take when the message flashed up that R.Williams had left Brentford. Were the Scots looking for somebody to help build them a new stadium? Were their fans voicing too many opinions and so in need of being patronised? Instead, it was simply the departure of our much touted free-kick specialist.

Then again, with Alan Judge and Sam Saunders in the side, he never had a chance.

Nick Bruzon


14 Responses to “Are we stronger after the transfer window closes?”

  1. Lew February 2, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    An awful lot of us football fans seem to think that consolidation is a dirty word but it really shouldn’t be. We kept hold of a prized asset, sold two want aways (both for profit) and ditched some fringe players. The managerial shenanigans mean we’ve been running just to keep up all season, so I personally see nothing wrong with a period of consolidation.

    Summer business will obviously be key (start bracing yourself now, Nick: his statement made it clear as day that Judge will be off) but it will also give Dean Smith a chance to really build his own squad. And as you say, we’re essentially looking at three new signings before we’ve even begun to compile a shopping list. The future is still bright – far brighter than any other period I can remember.

  2. RebelBee February 2, 2016 at 9:03 am #

    Have to say i’m a little disappointed that we weren’t able to make at least one significant signing, just to give us all a boost after a (another) tough window. Glad that our want away centre half is elsewhere, a grubby end to a decent spell at our club, and all so avoidable given that JT is now at “Turd Morgue” and our valuation seems to have been met.

    Thankfully Mr Judge will be staying, all I can say to that is let’s enjoy him whilst we can – Alan has the chance to be a true Brentford great – a “shoe in” if he signed a new deal in the summer.

    I also think it is right to give some real credit to Frank Macparland – who’s recruitment strategy working in tandem with MB/MW/DW has yielded some serious profits for BFC – with that return do we actually need Moneyball or whatever you wish to call it?

    Also credit to Dean Smith, who has handled a very difficult 1st few months well – he also has the chance now to get on and work with his players, see where he can take this team.

    The squad does now appear to be a bit thin, I have to ask how this fits with the DoF’s stated aim to run with a bigger squad this season? I guess it has gone the same way as those other ambitions – to be stronger after each window, and improve on last season’s league position. Not a huge drama but a few words to update us all would be appreciated.

    Still this does give an opportunity for those with the shirts to show what they can do and for the fringe players to step up, starting with 2 nice easy little away games at BHA and Wednesday! I’ll be there to bear witness anyways. There are some encouraging signs and we’ll get to see a lot more of Colin, Barbet, Josh and Sammy Saunders.

    Maybe it’s the serial pessimist in me, but 4 more wins can’t come soon enough, then we can start to think about next season.

  3. Rob February 2, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    I think we are consolidating. Getting rid of some of the dead wood, streamlining the team a bit, keeping the wages at a decent level and then having a look around at what miggt be available come the end of the season. It gives the manager the chance to look at the fringe players,see if they are up to much and make a call as to whether to cull further. By the start of the new season we’d have Bjelland and Hogan back (perhaps lost Judge though? I think that whilst it’s not a formality, it’s probable) and have money to spend on the targets we’ve identified from now till May. Given how the season started, id be reasonably happy with mid table security and our foreign band of brothers with a season of Championship experience. Lets hope though that the vultures don’t pick off anyone else who steps up to the plate in the coning months. As for Tarks leaving, it was in our bests interests. I read his signing on statement, and that of Phil Giles and Dean Smith on his departure, and I’m more convinced than ever that he did what he did to force the move through. But it doesnt matter. He got what he wanted and we got good money for him. And like i said, come next season we’ll have a Danish international back in the squad in that position so long term i don’t think he’ll be missed.
    On a personal level, i might have liked to have seen a striker come on board, but other than this it’s onwards and upwards. CoyB’s!

  4. Spanish Bee February 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    If they can’t strengthen the squad now for the right kind of money, best not to buy. The fact that the fans can accept this is a sign of how far we have come.

  5. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) February 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    I have seen a bit of an overreaction in some places claiming the ‘season is over’ and we may as well put the development squad out. Seriously, these people need to get a grip on reality. As the learned above have all pointed out. A season of consolidation is not a bad thing. Perhaps we have spoilt in recent years of having promotion challenge after promotion challenge. Lets just use this second half of the season to build on what we have.

    Anyone who did not realise that the play off team would be broken up pretty sharpish needed their head examined. It was always going to happen to a club like ours. Granted one or two of the departures were somewhat messy, particularly the number 26. But to come through it with our head very comfortably over water shows the quality that remains.

    Saying that, I too am disappointed that no one came into the club this window. I cannot help but feel that certain eyes at the club may have been pointed towards Herning and a future date in Manchester rather than West London.

  6. RebelBee February 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    A season of consolidation is not a bad thing at all Bernard – totally agree and I only wish that Rasmus Ankersen had been more realistic in his projections for this term. But isn’t it ironic that some of those Bees fans now up-selling consolidation were slating MW for not adding to the squad last January, and for seeming to block the signing of Djuricin.

    The season is not over at all, first target is to collect the 12 or so points needed to stay up. Then go from there.

  7. Gordonbankole February 2, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    The simple answer to your question Nick is that we will be weaker without Toumani and especially Tarkowski. The flipside to this is that MacEachran and Barbet now have the chance to really prove themselves. Also MacLeod who must surely come into the reckoning soon. I guess if the squad gets that threadbare we’ll delve into the loan market.

    However, the wisdom of certain people “bigging things up” prematurely must come into question. This is the kind of thing that does raise expectations of some fans beyond reality.

    It will be a big summer for two people in particular to show they’re up to the job, as their performance so far has been very patchy and at times totally unconvincing.

  8. Captain Colon February 2, 2016 at 6:28 pm #

    Well said all, the consolidation is something I would have been happy with last year and taking the poor run on injuries and managerial inns and outs it suits this year too. Andre Gray to the premiership at the end of the season hopefully. Burnley have tracked our players for ages but preferred to give us a lot more money a year or so later rather than pick them up for relatively small amounts. Tea lady is being tracked as Dyche says his been following her macaroons for a number of years. COYR.

    • Rob February 3, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      Brilliant!! I think the only person of ours that Burnley aren’t tracking is the set piece specialist! 😉

      • RebelBee February 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

        Very good. How about the sleep coach? Oh and we’d better get Bob Oteng a new deal sharpish, they’ll be after him next.

  9. michael ohl February 2, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    Some good considered views, and I agree with most if not all of them. TBH, seeing Brentford in the old Division 2, holding our own and playing open attractive football was not something I expected back in the days when we moved between Division 4 and 3. To talk of challenging for Division 1 aka Premiership was pie in the sky. Just shows how far I think we have come. When we do go up, I’d like us to be in the position where we have a realistic chance of staying up.

  10. Gordonbankole February 2, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    Can I just add to the above. I respect our owner very much for all he’s achieved which frankly is beyond our wildest dreams, our Chairman has had his moments good and bad, I am happy with our choice of manager (though I would “love it” if Lee Carsley was still in charge – his contribution to a pretty stressful season has been massive), but the two DOFs still have much to prove; we have seen some pretty bold statements along the way, and I would like to be convinced that it is more than all talk. And if we can’t match what we achieved last year, just hold back on the hyperbole and set more realistic goals. Because that’s what we’re probably going to have to do until we get the new stadium.

    Although recently avec Monsieur Barbet their judgement has looked a touch more sound, I still maintain that the summer recruitment was far from good, the striking options especially. Ryan Williams was a great capture of course (someone please explain what that was all about?).

    Cue Mr Benn…

  11. RebelBee February 3, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    I should’ve answered your original question too Nick, are we stronger after this window? No of course not. Not necessarily a bad thing but nobody can honestly say that we are. It does also put pressure on us to move quickly and wisely in the summer, i’d have hoped we’d end this season with a solid core of players ready to go in August.

    Fair play to Phil Giles for giving a decent interview yesterday, clearly he has to manage down some of the overly ambitious claims made by his co DoF (where is he btw). I do wonder after this window if PG may need some help to sell BFC and get deals over the line, this is where the DoF’s predecessors excelled.

    Let’s also not forget that our next 3 games are extremely tough – the squad will be tested.

  12. Rob February 3, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    This is an interesting read for all those still reading this post

    This paragraph in particular

    The failure to sign players could be interpreted as the club raising a white flag to their promotion hopes for the season as they prepare their summer business.

    Financially, Brentford are much better off after the sales of Tarkowski and Diagouraga.

    Preparations for the 2016/17 campaign are already gathering pace and GetWestLondon understands the Bees are close to agreeing pre-contract deals with targets.

    The money raised in January is likely to be reinvested in the summer, where Brentford will struggle to keep Alan Judge, meaning they can be in a much stronger position to challenge at the sharp end of the Championship table.

    It could be seen better business to take a step back now and be able to sign the right players at the right price in the summer than add to the squad for the sake of adding to it.

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