The three-five players our club can’t afford not to not sign/let go. Farewell John Egan. And Flo?

20 Jul

Welcome back to Championship life, Brentford fans. You can now ignore the weeks of clickbait as things have actually happened. With The Bees already accepting a bid for Florian Jozefzoon (Leeds United thought to be the original target but Derby County now in the box seat to complete that one) it was John Egan who was the first to leave Griffin Park yesterday. Sheffield United splashing out their record transfer fee (£4million is the word on the street) to take our captain up to Bramall Lane where he will line up in a defence featuring fellow ex-Bees Jack O’Connell and Simon Moore. Yet unlike last season’s summer sale (© the Middlesex Chronicle big book of 80’s alliteration) to Birmingham City, this feels totally different.

Screen Shot 2018-07-20 at 05.26.39

The words of Sheffield United about John Egan

Four. Million. Pounds. Wow! Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been quoted on the BBC as saying ,”We see him as a leader and he is worthy of the fee we’ve paid for him, in my opinion he is a better player than a couple of those who have already moved for bigger fees this summer”

Meanwhile, over on Brentford official I had images of Phil Giles being handed a hessian sack, over-flowing with bills and a dollar sign stenciled on the front. His take on it was a simple one – they offered what we wanted and so the club accepted. Noting specficially that, “We were happy to complete the transfer once our valuation had been met for a player who has done very well for us and who was our captain last season. The remaining group of centre backs are young but hugely talented so it will remain to be seen whether we need to replace John directly over the final weeks of the transfer window”.

You can read that one in full, here.

It marks a stark contrast to his approach when pressed on the Birmingham City transfers back in September. When last season’s summer window closed with ‘that’ 11th hour triple move to St. Andrews  his explanation was slightly different as to why it had happened in that fashion. Eleven months ago  – it had always been the plan to buy over the summer and sell just prior to the window closing. “Strategically it’s the ideal way to do it. Sell them late and buy them early.”

Now, with John gone to the Blades and Flo seemingly also out the door to Derby County, we’re doing business early. Likewise, let’s not forget that fellow centre back Andreas Bjelland has also departed after declining our new offer when his contract expired.

Am I upset? Yes, but no. On a personal note, John was always massively popular in our house. He visited Harry at Halloween and took great care of him when he was fortunate enough to be mascot last season (leading the team out rather than dressed up as Buzzette).  It will be sad to see such a likeable individual and talented player leave. Four million speaks volumes about his quality. Let’s not forget, either, that aswell as being Captain he is also a full international.


Thank you, John. From HB (and dad)

Yet the reaction on social media seemed to be one of universal agreement – with that much money on the table, for a player who has given great service and that we picked up when his own contract had expired, this was great business. It is a view I absolutely concur with and as much because it really gives Chris Mepham a chance to make a huge name for himself this season. Whether alongside Yoann, Mads or new boy Ezri Konsa.

If nothing else, what must that say about his (Meps’) valuation? Eddie Howe has been well, well out of his depth if this is what our players are going for. As long as the first team stay fit  (and at Griffin Park) then this has the makings of a great defence.

Let’s just hope Dean doesn’t make Chris captain, though. Or Woodsy!  Jonathan Burchill (@Jonathan77777) on Twitter has done his own analysis and come up with the following gem:

Kevin O’Connor retired at end of 2013-14 promotion season. Since then every @BrentfordFC captain has left the club within 12 months of taking the armband:

14-15 Craig (& Douglas, who was capt more often that season)

15-16 Bidwell

16-17 Dean

17-18 Egan

Interesting stat, Jonathan. My own immediate question would be whether this mean Nico Yennaris and Josh McEachran, who stepped in as captain last time out, could be also be leaving before Rotherham visit?

Alfie Mawson to Barnsley (currently Swansea). Jack O’Connell and now John Egan. Both Sheffield United. Harlee to Birm… ok, maybe not that last one. Yet the list of quality centre backs that have left in recent years but will line up against us this season for famous clubs is one that is growing. You could also chuck in the likes of Andreas, Tony Craig and number 26 to that mix of quality, albeit their paths now lie elsewhere. It says how blessed we have been in this positon. How well we have continued to recruit.

The obvious question is, who next? Whether in or out. With Flo seemingly as good as gone, that’s two that have departed. The likes of Meps, Ryan Woods, Ollie Watkins and Daniel Bentley are amongst the other big names whom fans are, understandably, sweating on. Will these two sales have been sufficient to staunch the flow of departures? Are they enough to counterbalance inward movement that has seen Said Benrahama and Ezri already joining Dean Smith’s exciting young squad.

We’ve still a while to go until the transfer window slams shut. I’m sure this won’t be the last of it. This is Brentford. We are now well used to how things happen. Heroes leaving when valuations are met. Unknowns and young potential joining who then go on to become the next big thing. I’ve promised myself I won’t get upset this season. That we’ll really show some faith in what the club are doing. Four top ten Championship finishes in a row show they know an awful lot more than me about football, that’s for sure.

At the same time, keeping this squad together will only be seen as an immediate good thing. A chance for us to really build and make a push for that top six. Could we even strengthen further? Who knows? One step at a time.

For now, it is a case of thank you, farewell and good luck to John. And don’t even think about scoring against us. Please ! 


That’s about as official as it gets

Nick Bruzon


8 Responses to “The three-five players our club can’t afford not to not sign/let go. Farewell John Egan. And Flo?”

  1. KevinO July 20, 2018 at 6:51 am #

    Jozefzoom seems to be just following the club policy of selling players when they are in their last year of contract and financially that makes sense. Just look at Bjelland leaving for nothing because his contract ran down. In one respect Bjelland served us well but he cost an awful lot of money for what was basically one full season.

    Egan feels a bit different but we got a decent enough price for him. I believe it was in excess of £4m as that was Sheff U’s previous record and they stated it beat their previous record. If he stayed and “Mads” makes the step up as some expect then they would have been back to having five centre backs for two positions which is not good for anyone.

    There will be other departures no doubt. We have four goalkeepers in the first team squad now so how is that going to work, for example?

    I feel it is exciting times ahead and most of us trust the management to bring the club onward and upward which is a reflection of recent successes. If Said is a replacement for Jozefzoom then we still need that goal scoring forward we have all been craving or else too much falls onto Maupay.

    Recently Smith said he expected 4-5 first-team signings before the season started so 2 down and 2-3 to go!

  2. John July 20, 2018 at 8:03 am #

    Yes, good business by the club for Egan and almost certainly Flo. If others go for the RIGHT price then so be it. But we need to get a forward to put all these shots and chances we create in the net. Otherwise the top 10 finish will not become the top 6 finish we so crave. Who that person is I don’t know and accept not easy to find. I thought I read we were interested in Mo Eisa from Cheltenham but seems to have gone quiet. Anyway, we need a 20 goal plus man ASAP!

  3. David Carney. July 20, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    Of course there will be more departures because in the latest accounts (to 30 June 2016) there was yet another loss despite plenty player trading in 2015/16. The year just ended may also have been a loss. At best a small profit so that Benham can finally stop putting his hand in his pocket for our enjoyment and his passion for Brentford. I am sure he would like some loan money back as well because he continues to subsidise by Millions every year with the interest free loans.
    I don’t have the figures to hand, so they may be a bit rubbery, but essentially in the Championship Brentford are operating at a loss of around 1 million pounds per month (12 – 14 million each and every year). The only way to recoup the operating loss is to make a profit on player trading – it’s not rocket science.
    Unlike at any time since I can remember, Brentford can now finally sustain itself because (probably for the first time since the 1930’s) the club is well managed, it has a clear vision, it executes well and has a large, talented and disciplined playing group with a clear succession plan for each player and each position. But this strong position of Brentford is only sustainable (at Championship level) by at least a minimum net profit on player trading of 12 – 14 million annually.
    Based upon the uninformed media this window has realised close to 4 million in player trading, so another 10 million needs to be raised. That may come from the sale of anything from 1 – 4 players (assuming there is no cost of more arrivals), in the remainder of this window and the January 2019 window. With the talent at Brentford right now (playing, coaching and management) that should be a relatively easy task to achieve, whilst at the same time winning promotion to the Premier League. This is an intriguing position for players who can probably earn a pay rise by leaving now, or stay and be a Premier League player next year. After all I seem to remember the three departures to Birmingham and Hogan’s to Villa all went with comments about wanting to play Premier League football and I think all would now struggle to move on without a pay cut in their respective financially strapped clubs that seem to be heading to nowhere very quickly.
    Players that want to leave are not as committed as everyone would like, so better they go. All the Coaches, Directors of Football and players know who they are so best they are sold quickly for a good price and replaced internally or externally. After all, every time a ‘key’ player has been sold in the past few years they have been replaced by a better player, so why do we get excited, agitated, nervous, etc, etc, whenever a player is sold.
    In essence currently Brentford are around 10 million short this season so the sooner this money is recovered, plus a bit more to recruit better players the better everyone will feel.

  4. John July 20, 2018 at 8:23 am #

    Interesting reply David. I assume the money from Villa for Hogan, which apparently has still not all been received, would not make a difference?

  5. Brighton Bee July 20, 2018 at 9:05 am #

    Whilst I can see the sense of selling players when their contracts are running down or when the profit is economically a no brainier, what worries me is at what point will the management say enough is enough, we need to get out of this league. If we keep selling our best players, then we will never make to play offs / promotion, are we happy just to survive and finish 10th again? I know this sounds odd considering where we have been up to the pre Matthew Benham era but our appetites have been wetted for better things.

    • David Carney. July 20, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      That is exactly the challenge – how can you achieve promotion whilst selling players. Very difficult to achieve and quite impossible unless there is outstanding leadership, a benefactor investing a substantial sum of money, a very stable group of very skilful and knowledgeable people with complementary skills working in unison to achieve a common outcome. Obviously an integral part of the strategy must be talent ID and development so that there is a constant stream of new talent identified externally being developed internally. Provided this conveyor belt of developing talent continues all will be well. Long may the present dynasty continue.

  6. KevinO July 20, 2018 at 11:56 am #

    And yet few of us would doubt that each season Brentford have got better despite selling players – we need to trust the people running the club because they are certainly doing a fine job!

  7. Rob July 20, 2018 at 4:06 pm #

    My confidence is the DoF’s have certainly strengthened. Either by skill or good fortune things seems to have worked out despite all these career threatening injuries the players seem to sustain.
    It’s possible we’ll be picking up Odubajo again for a free transfer, someone we sold only 3 years ago for £3.5m and who’s still only 24. If he recovers from these injuries then I’m sure he’ll do well for us and make us more money whilst putting himself back in the shop window. Whilst we played him as a wing back, remember he was playing as a winger at the O’s. Flo Jo replacement already??
    Interesting item regarding player sales from David.
    I thought this year we might be slightly better than £-10m in debt currently for 2018
    AV owe us £3m for Scott Hogan (was that factored into 2017?). We sold Jota, Dean and Colin for a combined £10 – 12m in Jan
    We got another £500k for Tarkowski getting an England cap. KK went for about a £1m to Germany. Egan went (apparently) for £4.1m of which Gillingham are entitled to a sell on for (800k?) and we’ve just sold Flo Jo for £2.75m and of course Lasse Vibe went for £2m to China. That was all in 2018. We’ve paid out for Ezri (£2.5 – £3m?), Said (£2.5m?) and a whole host of B team players which these days don’t come free.
    So I’m not sure we need to sell anyone yet. We’ve clearly turned down £10m for Mepham and of the two CB he’s the one I’d kee. I confess I’m worried about Romaine and Woods. If we got £15 for Ollie with a sell on clause, then I’d probably chop your arm off for that. He’s a great player, lots of potential, but not the finished article (though he will be better than Sterling).
    Future still looks very promising to me….So far so good

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