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Economics student, Tom Worville (@Worville), published a fascinating blog summarising the goings on at Brentford over the past few months, both on and off the pitch. So fascinating in fact, that Beesotted asked him if we could publish it – and were kindly give the thumbs up. 

The article is published in three parts. This, the final part, looks at the players signed and potential reasons why. You can find .

You can also check  and read the full series.

With the summer transfer window in full swing, it’s a good time to look at what is going on over in Brentford and find out who the new additions that have joined the Bees are.

As many readers will know, Brentford are the poster boys for the data revolution in football. With that in mind, every single move that they make can be scrutinized to look at the reasons behind the signing and how they are going to shape the team in the upcoming season.

In this mini series, I’m going to analyse the new signings at Brentford, and try to understand the moves at the club a bit more.

Part 3: Players

Before we start, I’ve added a Player x Age matrix below which is heavily influenced by the work of Ben Torvaney. I recommend you given Ben a follow – as he tweets and blogs some really great stuff about the Championship.

worville matrix







This matrix shows the minutes each of the new signings played last season, and their age. The lines indicate the period in which a player is at his peak playing years (taken from work by Simon Gleave, another worth follow)  – which is between 24 and 29.

All of these players are pre-peak players apart from Bjelland, who is just starting his peak years – which tells us they are only likely to get better in the future. This is a good thing, as their value is likely to increase during these years also – making the signings already great value for money.

Andreas Bjelland


Bjelland is a Danish international centre back who recently signed from FC Twente of the Eredivisie. Bjelland joins for just £1.75 million (data from Transfermarkt) and played 2,647 minutes last season – just shy of 30 games.

I feel this move happened for two reasons: one is that Bjelland is a good international defender and two that his club, FC Twente, are in real financial trouble, so Brentford were able to get him on the cheap.

As with all defensive players it’s difficult to measure their quality in a side. Measuring pure counting metrics like tackles and interceptions is pretty meaningless without context – which is difficult to add in.

Having said that, he did have the best tackling rate in the league last season, winning 91% of his tackles. To me quality of these counting metrics is better than quantity, so when Bjelland chooses to go into a tackle he wins 9/10 – pretty good going.

This also points to him having more awareness of when to make tackles and having a good understanding of the game. Last season Twente finished with a goal difference of +5, but in the games that Bjelland played in the team has a goal difference of +15 – winning 14 drawing five and losing eight. Evidently they’re a better side with him than without him.

So what does Bjelland bring to Brentford?

A player who could probably play in the Premier League and is of international quality is a snip at £1.75 million.

Yoann Barbet

Yoann Barbet joins for around £500k from French Ligue 2 side Chamois Niortais. He’s probably the epitomy of a Brentford signing in the current regime – never heard of, from a relatively low quality league, for a low fee – yet could have some untapped potential that means he’s valuable to Brentford.

In the video below you can see evidence of his crossing ability from his left foot. What’s intriguing to me is he has the combination of a centre back who has the ability to cross from deep, but is also likely able to be coached to take free kicks and corners. Taking into account the talented coaches that Brentford have just signed this is a real possibility that he may take corners/free kicks in the future.

Bordeaux B – Viry Chatillon : l’inspiration… by ChezLesGirondins

Brentford are slowly acquiring good set piece takers all over the pitch – which fuels the idea that they’re turning more into an NFL-style special team than just having a couple of designated set piece takers like most other teams.

Get French Football News writer Brendan Macfarlane wrote an excellent piece profiling Barbet. This stuck out for me about his playing style – showing how Barbet is another viable option at the heart of Brentford’s defence.

Barbet is definitely a continental-style centre-back in the sense that, asides from being aerially-strong and tough in the tackle, he is also a fairly competent footballer when the ball is on the deck. He has a cultured left-foot and I was often impressed by his relatively wide range of passing when I watched Chamois Niortais matches last season. He is a well-balanced player and he rarely switches off when pressure is put his side by opponents.

Once again, it’s difficult to quantify defenders through the data on their actions (which I don’t have for the French Ligue 2 anyway) but with Barbet in the side Chamois had a goal difference of +3 – without him they had a goal difference of -4.

This may be swayed by the number of games without him being so few (just five games) but then again does show that those five games they conceded more than a goal a game on average. Another solid defensive signing in the mix. With the potential to be another attacking card in the pack also.


Akaki Gogia

Akaki Gogia is a really fun player. I don’t like evaluating players through their YouTube highlights, but Gogia seems to be another dead ball specialist.

Gogia joins on a free transfer from Hallescher FC, who play in the 3rd Division in Germany. Before that he was on the books of Wolfsburg as a youth player – who evidently saw that he had potential.

Last season Gogia played the equivalent of 36 games for Hallescher (3260 minutes), scoring 0.3 goals per 90 mins and providing 0.25 assists per 90 mins.

Overall his scoring contribution (assists and goals) per 90 is 0.55 – making a goal just over every two games. The majority of these (as referenced from the video above) are as a result of set pieces – making him an ideal player for Brentford’s new system.

One potential downside of Gogia’s play is his tendency to get booked. Last season he averaged a yellow card every four games – receiving nine yellows in total. This is worrying as he is an attacking player – so either shows one of two things: that he is active in tracking back and getting involved in the defensive side of things or that he lacks discipline.

I hope that it is the former – although feel that this is something that the new psychology coach Tom Bates will be able to work on if the latter.

The chart below was posted on Twitter by the ever excellent Goalimpact.

gogia goal impact







Goalimpact (GI) is a measure of a players impact on goal difference – which is what I tried to do at a very basic level with Barbet and Bjelland. A rating of 110 is average for a Bundesliga player. But anything over 100 means the player is probably good enough for the league also.

Gogia has a GI of 115. But his potential – the dotted line – is slightly better than that – meaning that it can be expected that he will improve in the future.

Ryan Williams

Williams was featured in the last piece as the guinea pig for free kick coach Bartek Sylwestrzak to show the fruits of his work. Williams also joins on a free transfer, moving from Morecambe who play in League Two.

After dropping out of the professional game in 2009 to become a personal trainer, Williams went on to play for Welsh clubs Llandudno and Rhyl – the latter where he scored 16 goals in 35 games. This lead him to sign for Morecambe where he had two successful seasons before being released in May this year.

Brentford have signed Williams on a one year contract with the option for a second year. I suspect this is to pair him with Sylwestrzak again to see whether his free kick abilities can be improved any further.

Evidently his regular on field play may not be of a very high quality – getting released from League Two Morecambe tells us this – but Brentford see value in him from dead ball situations that other teams rate less highly.

I hope that Williams is given a chance next season and I’m looking forward to seeing what another year working alongside Sylwestrzak will bring to his game.

Maybe, like in the video below, he can become the Juninho of Brentford:


Konstantin Kerschbaumer

Kerschbaumer – apart from having an insane name – is probably the most unheard of of all these players. He joins for an undisclosed fee from Admira Wacker in the Austrian Bundesliga, and played 3,856 minutes last season for both Admira Wacker and St Polten who play in the Austrian First Division.

He moved to Wacker in January in a player trade.

Once again I’ve included his Goalimpact chart below – he’s not as good as Gogia according to this model and his potential (dotted line) is actually getting worse and not better.

kk goal impact







His score of 104 does indicate he’s good enough for the Bundesliga though, which means he’s likely able to cut it in the Championship also.

Having said that, he still managed a goal and five assists at Admira Wacker last season in 1,440 minutes and two goals and three assists for St Polen in 1,756 minutes.

Not groundbreaking scoring contributions (0.25 per 90 at St Polen, 0.38 at Admira Wacker) but still pretty good for a central midfielder. Considering the decent midfield players that Brentford already have, I’m certainly looking forward to how they lineup come August.

Josh McEachran

The final player (so far) of this summer transfer window is Josh McEachran.

McEachran joins from Chelsea – after no less than five loan spells away from the club and still yet to score a professional goal after 105 career games.

The midfielder joins for £750,000 and on a four year deal – good faith from Brentford for a player whose numbers at first glance aren’t overly that impressive.

McEachran was on loan at Vitesse last season, where he played just 685 minutes (equivalent to 7.7 x 90 minute matches) in the Eredivisie. He did contribute three assists in that time, but with the small sample size it’s difficult to pull any meaningful conclusions from the below.

In my research for McEachran I found the two interesting stats from Opta Johan below.

1.31 – @JMcEachran20 attempted a pass every 79 seconds in the 14/15 Eredivisie, more often than any other midfielder (10+ games). Buzzing.

— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 10, 2015 

2.2 – @JMcEachran20 passed into the opp half more frequently (every 2.2 mins) than any other Eredivisie player (10+ games) in 14/15. Intent.

— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 6, 2015

 What does this tell us?

Well evidently he moves the ball quickly and even in this small sample of minutes we can probably infer that this is an indication of skill and not just sample bias.

Secondly he progresses play forward. It may be simple logic that moving the ball away from your own goal is a good thing. But having McEachran move the ball quickly AND forward could be the reason for Brentford showing faith with a four year deal and a relatively large cost (for the size of the team).

McEachran may be able to act as the central pivot for the team between attack and defence, acting as a defensive anchor and the release valve to begin attacks once the ball becomes loose.

At 22 he has plenty of time to improve and raise his game, and with him slowly approaching his peak years his value is likely to raise while at Brentford also.

Finally – once again it’s difficult to quantify the defensive side of the game – but McEachran puts up good defensive contributions also. I also feel that I couldn’t do a roundup of Brentford’s players without putting in a radar!

josh mc stats










Thanks for reading, I’ve really enjoyed writing this series and the buzz that it’s produced. I’ll likely do another at the end of the transfer window to go in depth on any additional signings. 

You can catch of this article by clicking the links.

You can also check the whole article on .