Brentford 2022/23 Season Preview: Shrewd signings and record deals will see the Bees avoid ‘second season syndrome’

5 min

After a remarkable Premier League debut last time out, Brentford will enter the new campaign desperate to avoid the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’.

It’s a curse that has taken the likes of Sheffield United, Ipswich Town and Reading as well as nearly claiming Leeds United as its latest victim last term.

Having finished an incredible 13th last season, Brentford currently fit the mould of defying expectations and punching well above their weight in a new division before suffering a spectacular down turn in form the following year.

However, with the Bees entering the new campaign having recruited well and looking stronger than ever, they should have more than enough to avoid a similar fate to some of their newly-promoted predecessors.

In his final press conference of last season, head coach Thomas Frank not only refuted any thoughts of ‘second season syndrome’ but also went on to suggest the club would strengthen in ‘one or two’ positions.

So far that number has doubled to four with further reinforcements expected in the form of Sampdoria’s Mikkel Damsgaard – an offer being agreed and Brentford currently discussing personal terms and finalising a medical.

Should the 22-year-old join, he would be the perfect replacement for fellow Dane Christian Eriksen who joined Manchester United on a free transfer after the expiration of his short-term contract in the summer.

One of Brentford’s main problems last season was the lack of a natural right-back and although predominantly a left-sided player, the versatile Aaron Hickey joins from Serie A side Bologna to fill that role.

Signed for a then-record £14m, the highly-rated Scottish youngster’s marauding energy will complement that of Rico Henry on the other flank and add some much-needed defensive balance to the side.

Staying with the back line, the arrivals of Ben Mee and Lazio’s Thomas Strakosha on free transfers are smart pieces of business that ensure the side have cover in the crucial centre-back and goalkeeper areas respectively. 

Mee brings an abundance of Premier League experience having made over 200 appearances for Burnley and, with last season’s niggling injuries to both Kristoffer Ajer and Ethan Pinnock appearing to have already spilled over into this campaign, is expected to feature regularly over the course of the season.

Similarly, Strakosha is not expected to make up the numbers either, with the 27-year-old likely to push current first-choice incumbent David Raya all the way for the goalkeeper jersey.

READ MORE: Brentford 2021/22 Season Review: An remarkable Premier League debut that succeeded every expectation

With Brentford feeling the effects of Raya’s long injury lay-off last season, Strakosha’s arrival is an astute one – as Lazio’s No.1 and having played European football, the Bees now possess two top class goalkeepers. 

At the other end of the pitch, Brentford smashed their club transfer fee for a second time in a month with the capture of Keane Lewis-Potter for £20m from Hull City.

Lewis-Potter was one of the standout players in the Championship last season and, having already scored on his Bees debut during the pre-season game against Strasbourg, the 21-year-old looks more than ready for the step up. 

Having been linked to the club last January, the quick sharpshooting left winger adds another exciting option to Brentford’s wide attacking areas and looks a real coup for the Bees.

Indeed, should Damsgaard join Hickey and Lewis-Potter, it further reinforces the club’s long-term recruitment strategy of bringing in burgeoning talent with sky-high potential in order to develop them into final products with a huge resale value.

Another player who will be like a new signing this season is midfielder Josh Dasilva, who has endured a wretched 18 months – returning from a hip injury that ruled him out for 11 months, only to then suffer a hamstring set-back at the back end of last season. 

The 22-year-old will be hoping to kickstart his first full Premier League season and add another attacking spark to the Bees midfield alongside the ever-impressive and consistent duo of Vitaly Janelt and Christian Norgaard.

In attack, talisman Ivan Toney will be eager to better last season’s 12 league goals and five assists and with the new signings adding more balance overall to the side, that target is more than do-able.

READ MORE: Brentford fans may feel bitter by Christian Eriksen’s Manchester United move – but they shouldn’t

However, the departure of fellow forward Marcus Forss to Championship side Middlesbrough may mean the side are perhaps needing another central striker to deputise for Toney should he become sidelined.

Frank favoured a 4-3-3 formation towards the end of last season and it is likely to be the system that once again gets the best out of all the parts at his disposal.

It would see an attacking trio of Bryan Mbeumo, Toney and either Lewis-Potter or Yoane Wissa with Damsgaard slotting into midfield alongside two of Janelt, Norgaard and Dasilva.

With all key positions filled and with minimal disruption made by any out-goings, the Bees are in perfect harmony and there’s no reason why they cannot surpass expectations for a second season running.

LFS Verdict: 11th

Hire Us

Like what we do? Get in touch and see what we can do for you!

Support Us on Patreon

Find out more about us here and if you like our articles please check out our Patreon page.