French Striker Maupay Signs; Watkins Still In Frame; Brentford Miss Out On La Liga Striker – Beesotted Pre-Season RoundUp
With the start of the season closing in, things are starting to heat up in the Brentford camp as The Bees start to put the finishing touches to their squad so here’s Billy Grant (@BillytheBee99) with a wee round up – reporting from the far East … and we’re not talking Stratford – of what’s going down in and round Griffin Park at the moment.
Beesotted are on the case and discussed all the mid-season happenings at length on this week’s PrideOfWest.London podcast (link below). The show includes an interview with Billy in Shanghai with his Beesotted’s Chinese sources who seemed to be clued up on all the happenings in and around Griffin Park.
Bees Sign St Etienne Striker Neal Maupay
Brentford have struck a deal for highly rated 20 year old Neal Maupay from St Etienne for €2m and are just finalising personal terms and his medical. On the Beesotted Pride of West London Podcast this week (link above), it was indicated that The Bees were on the verge of signing a striker – with one due to land before the weekend if not early next week.
The winger – who can play all across the front line – made his professional debut for Nice when he was 16 and was seen as the next big thing a few years back. He knew his moment had really come when he scored against Brentford at Griffin Park in OGC Nice’s 3-2 loss over the Bees in 2014 (Maupay’s poachers goal against Brentford can be seen 42 secs in on the video below).
He never reached the expected heights at Nice – scoring 6 goals in 44 games over 3 seasons – and went on to sign for St Etienne in 2016 where he only featured in 15 games – scoring 1 goal. However, it was on loan to Brest last season where he really started to make his mark – scoring 11 goals in 28 games for the French League 2 team.
Maupay has been described as being similar to Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero in his playing style with a young Wayne Rooney thrown in for good measure (no pressure then). He has upper body-strength above his years despite being small with a low centre of gravity but is quick with an eye for goal.
The French U21 played is also eligible to play for Argentina as his parents are from the South American country. No doubt Jorge Sampaoli will be keeping a keen eye on Maupay’s progress at Brentford if and when he signs on the dotted line.
**** UPDATED FRI 14th July 8pm GMT
Neal Maupay signs 4 year contract for Brentford, fighting off lots of interest from clubs in England and overseas.
Exeter Striker Ollie Watkins Still in the Frame
After a lack of striker signings last summer and December, Brentford look like they are doing a full U-turn on the striker front – going double-bubble on the upfront signings this summer.
With the Maupay deal all but in the bag, the Bees have also been heavily tracking Exeter hotshot 21 year old Ollie Watkins, and are expected to beat a number of teams to the his signature this window.
Watkins, who was on the radar of the Bees last summer, is very much seen as a player for the future. A key player for Exeter last season, he scored 16 goals in 52 games for the Grecians to see them gain a place in the playoff final against Blackpool – a match they lost 2-1. Brentford are hoping that he – like Scott Hogan when they signed him from 2nd division Rochdale in 2014- will go on to be a success in the Championship.
Brentford miss out on La Liga striker Kodro
With The Bees chasing a number of strikers over the summer, it was inevitable that one or two would slip from the net – with the Bees unable to sign them all. Beesotted exclusively reported on the podcast this week that Bosnian International Kenan Kodro was another player high up on the Brentford hit-list.
The Osasuna striker – who scored 9 goals for the La Liga club last season – had been also tipped to be chased by Bristol City amongst others. However, a couple of weeks ago he signed for BundersLeague side Mainz in a €1.2m deal that now sees him playing top flight German football.
OK Brentford may have not signed Kodro but what is encouraging is the quality of player that Brentford is currently looking to sign. Who would have thought we would had the ability to attract players from The Spanish La Liga, The German Bundersliga and The French Ligue 1 a couple of season ago?
Jota and Woods staying put .. for now
The Beesotted podcast this week talked Jota and Woods – with Beesotted indicating that no offer had come in as yet for Jota with Brentford trying their hardest under the circumstances to keep their star player at Griffin Park.
There have been a few stories flying around of Premier League teams touting the Spanish winger but according to Beesotted’s Chinese sources, it is a bit cloudy whether these stories are true or a series of embellishments by Jota’s hard-working agent.
Meanwhile, a few rumours have also been flying around that a few teams – including Sunderland – were in for Ryan Woods. The Chronicle – who is pretty much the ‘official bible’ when it comes to football stories in the North East – ran a story recently linking Simon Grayson’s team with the midfielder.
Grayson would know Woodsy well – turning on a couple of decent performances against his then Preston team last season.
But with Woodsy recently signing a new contact, Brentford are not under any pressure to sell so if he were to go, the price would be phenomenally high.
The long and the short of it. We’re not convinced that Sunderland would be able to afford our Woodsy – even with their parachute money.
So Woodsy and Jota staying at Griffin Park in the near future looks a decent bet at this very moment in time for any gamblers out there.
Peter Gilham Tributes
Earlier this week, football fans were given the heartbreaking news that Brentford legend Peter Gilham had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Tributes came in from not only Bees fans but from football fans from all around – so much so that Peter was overwhelmed and even went out of his way to send a heartfelt message out to Bees fans on the Pride of West London podcast this week (link above)
Brentford fans raised funds to create a flag for Peter – with the rest of the cash going to prostrate cancer charity. You can still donate via this link
We wish Peter all the best in his recovery.
Brentford B team Win European Pre-Season Friendly
Brentford B-team won the first match in their pre-season training session – convincingly beating Hungarian 2nd division side ETO Gyor 4-0.
Highly-rated midfielder Ali Coote – Brentford’s new signing from Dundee United – scored a brace whilst Ilias Chatzitheodoridis and Zain Westbrooke added a goal apiece to set the Bees on their winning ways.
A decent result for the B team who seem to have players making good progress. Beesotted podcast guest Reece Cole also scored a brace – with one goal being a cracker – against Aldershot last week in Brentford 1st team’s first friendly of the season.
Next up for the B team is MSK Zilina in Hungary on Friday 14th July followed by Benfica on Weds 19th July – in Portugal, Chelsea on Sat 22nd at Cobham and away to Dulwich Hamlet on Sat 29th in what will be a lively Champion Hill Stadium if their 2,000 plus home gates are anything to go by. All matches will be live on Brentford’s follow if you are unable to make them in person.
Brentford Taste Swiss Beef
It looks as if there is a lil bit of beef going down between Brentford and Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport after The Bees asked the Swiss team to move the venue of their forthcoming friendly match because they deemed the pitch to be not match worthy.
The game – due to be played on Saturday 15th July – was initially meant to be in he Swiss town St Prex but has been moved to St Lausanne-Sport’s training ground in Divonne-les-Bains.
We actually took a look at the ground on google maps a few weeks back and it looked decidedly ‘work in progress’.
It seems that FC Lausanne-Sport haven’t taken the decision well.
An official statement said:
“The decision to move this match is due to the reservations made by Brentford FC regarding the quality of the infrastructures present in St Prex. An opinion that FC Lausanne-Sport does not share and regrets. The English club being determined not to change its position, the LS was obliged, for sporting reasons, to keep the match in a different place chosen by the organiser. In addition, the game will be played behind closed doors”
President of Amical Saint-Prex didn’t mince his words:
“Brentford v Lausanne. The great club of the canton, against a professional English team. It would have been a great party. Unfortunately, representatives of Brentford came to Saint-Prex and demanded that the match be moved to Divonne. They did not want to play with us. Maybe they were surprised by the lack of stands, I do not know. Our field is beautiful, we worked a lot on it, but it is true that it is not perfect like that of a professional team. There are small holes, but nothing very serious.”
Meanwhile FC Lausanne fan Louis Dana commented:
“BrentfordFC imposes his rules! But of course! Everybody must curtsy to Her Highness The FA”
That triggered a series of sarcastic comments from St Lausanne fans:
“They don’t joke with the grass at Brentford. While they stay in their wonderful country to train during the summer!”
FC Lausanne have obviously not been briefed up on Brentford’s horrendous start to the season a couple of years ago due to an unfit pitch which was record signing Andreas Bjelland injured on a ‘small hole’ and out for a whole season.
It will be interesting to see if the beef translates to the pitch on Saturday.