And so, finally, the Andre Gray saga looks over as he looks set to sign for Bristol City after the Robins agreed a £9m package with Brentford for the player – who scored against them on Saturday. Hull City and West Ham had also been looking at the striker whose value has risen an incredible £8.5m after just one successful season in the Championship
While some supporters will question the timing of the Gray sale – particularly with injuries to other influential players – The Bees do at least have some time to replace Andre before the transfer window “slams” shut. Brentford have also already brought in strikers Philip Hoffman and Lasse Vibe this summer with both showing a decent goalscoring pedigree in their previous careers.
Admittedly Gray looked to have returned stronger than ever this summer, boasting two goals in two appearances so far. There were times last season, however, where his finishing betrayed him. In short, he remains a raw diamond with the potential to improve – whether City are able to benefit from increased development remains to be seen.
Gray’s lean patch still saw him receive considerable support from the Griffin park faithful during his debut season in the league. A £9 million price tag may not see such patience in the West Country.
Andre’s rise, and subsequent sale, is very much in line with Brentford owner Matthew Benham’s well reported “moneyball” approach to football. The profit received from the club will help them obey FFP rules whilst investing in further prospects from around the footballing globe – in the short term this may also help BFC bring in some talented bodies to replace injured players such as Jota, Josh McEachran and Andreas Bjelland.
There are some parallels between the Gray departure and Brentford’s sale of DJ Campbell – both were pacy goalscorers who had only just made their mark at professional level after arriving from non-league. That’s where the comparisons end though – Campbell’s Brentford were reportedly two days from financial administration whereas Benham has sold Gray at a price which meets his valuation, and smashes into oblivion The Bees record fee received.
This time we’ve lost a good player, but supporters should have every confidence that the healthy profits received will be well invested.