Brentford will be the 50th side to have ever played in the Premier League when they begin their season on Friday 13th against Arsenal, and they will be exposed to a whole new audience eager to see their goalscoring sensation Ivan Toney in the top flight.
The forward, who scored 33 Championship goals last season, a new record, is the man Premier League fans are licking their lips with anticipation at watching, and for good reason. His goalscoring ability is remarkable, his skill and strength on the ball are so impressive and his penalty technique is the most entertaining to watch in world football. But Brentford are so much more than their talismanic striker.
They’ve been knocking on the door of the Premier League for quite a while, having finished in the top half of the Championship for seven consecutive seasons and only losing the play-off final to Fulham in 2020, but now, in their swanky new stadium, the Bees have finally made the leap.
Led by Thomas Frank, Brentford have consistently improved, even when they have sold key players. When Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins left for the Premier League last summer, a few critics thought Brentford’s hope of promotion had departed with them.
However, owner Matthew Benham’s business means it doesn’t really matter who leaves the club. As long as they are sold when their value is at their maximum, there will always be a replacement signed waiting in the wings to take their place. Similarities are apparent between them and fellow newly-promoted side Norwich, who also focus on maximising profit while still improving on the field.
But Brentford achieved their promotion without parachute payments, without big attendances and by spending within their means. Their squad is also well-set to compete in the top flight without huge investment with the likes of Bryan Mbuemo, Josh Dasilva and Rico Henry ones to watch as they make the step up. Mbuemo’s pace is a huge asset to their attack while England U21 midfielder Dasilva is sure to catch the eye if he is given gametime by Frank, and attacking left-back Rico Henry has been a star in the Championship since joining the club in 2016.
Due to their transfer policy and ambitions to maximise profit by buying undervalued players, youth is clearly a major factor of the Brentford set-up. Those three aforementioned players are 21, 22 and 24 respectively while the purchases of two 23-year-olds this summer, Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic (£14m) and Frank Onyeka of FC Midtjylland (£9m) are sure to generate profit in the future. One thing is for sure, they will not be spending over £100m like their London neighbours, Fulham, did after their promotion campaign.
Brentford head into this season with the youngest average age by far, at just 23.8, and it is this youthful exuberance that should see them cause excitement in the top flight - although their lack of experience will also see them lose several games, as expected. But we’ve been waiting for a side like Brentford to break into the Premier League for years, so finally it is time to sit back and enjoy what they bring to the table. It is far more than just Ivan Toney’s goals.