Brentford have gone through a transformation over the early games of this new Premier League season, making signings to compensate for those who left the club to continue their journeys elsewhere. Brentford have managed 6 points from 15 but have been unlucky with results and during these games it's clear to see the profile of players that Thomas Frank has brought in will make a huge difference especially now with the absence of left back Rico Henry who sustained an injury verses Newcastle which will sideline him for the remainder of the 23/24 season.
The First signing to address is goalkeeper Mark Flekken. The 30-year-old Netherlands international has settled in quickly after former number one David Raya left the club to complete a one year loan with an option to buy at Arsenal.
Thomas Frank loves the idea of a modern goalkeeper, somebody who as well as shot stopping can play with the ball at their feet and be a part of the build-up when in possession. From seeing Flekken's appearances so far and the boots he had to fill of Raya it's obvious to see why at international level he is also favoured as a number one choice goalkeeper. Flekken is not afraid to receive the ball off his backline and can deal with pressure applied on him. Being able to bring a goalkeeper like Flekken in has allowed Frank to continue to play his style of football which involves most of the time playing out from the back to draw teams in and exploiting space that way. Flekken has great distribution and was the Bees first signing of the summer costing 11 million from German side Freiburg. The Dutch goalkeeper even at the age of 30 has a great future ahead at the club signing on a four-year contract, he has proven that not only is he good with his feet but he is also reliable when faced with shots. Flekken has made some memorbale saves this season and is a key player for the Bees who will look to grow stronger in the up-and-coming games by using his versatility on and off the ball.
A second signing who has also gelled straight into the team is young centre back Nathan Collins, who became Brentford's record club signing for a fee of £23 million from Wolves.
Collins aged 22 still has loads of time to develop and learn under new manager Thomas Frank but it goes without saying he was far from in experienced when he joined the bees having already made 45 appearances across his two former clubs Wolves and Burnley, Collins knew what the Premier League was about. Collins arrival was sealed after former club captain Pontus Jansson left the club after servicing them to the Premier League, he felt it was his time to go this season however Collins has stepped up to the challenge and has started the season with promise. Although Brentford have only managed 6 points out of a possible 15, they have been so good as a side, the four games they drew could have all been wins and Nathan Collins has slotted straight into Thomas Frank's plans. The Irish Centre Back is strong, physical love to make challenges and win his aerial duels but once again has the presence and composure to slow the game down and pick out a pass to get his team up the pitch into more dangerous areas. Collins has proven he can be trusted in possession around his own box and this is something Thomas Frank demands from his defenders who must demonstrate the confidence Collins does to see the game in front of him and make the right decisions. Collins is a superb signing for the Bees and still has years to develop into a complete centre back so overall his arrival to the West London club has been beyond satisfactory.
A final bit of business the Bees finalised was the signings of former player Neal Maupay on loan from Everton and the full completion on a deal to permanently sign forward Kevin Schade who did join the club on loan in January last season but has now signed a contract to stay with the Premiership team.
In the absence of Ivan Toney Thomas Frank has had to look to reinvest and strengthen his attacking line with the comeback of Maupay. Maupay in his last spell with Brentford was a prolific goal scorer however ever since moving away from the club to play for Brighton and Everton he has failed to find his feet scoring only one goal last season Thomas Frank will hope he can train Maupay to gain his confidence back in a stadium and community where he is loved by the fans Maupay has a great chance to shine. The deal to sign Neal Maupay was last minute but is a great business move by the Bees who required the squad depth after so many outgoings and injury problems. Maupay is a diminutive striker who can trouble defences, hopefully for the Bees this season the Frenchman finds his shooting boots once more to help progress the team forward.
As for German Forward Kevin Schade his deal being made permanent is a massive boost for Thomas Franks side, having shown great potential in his loan spell the quick direct forward who can play through the middle or off the wings has become a key starter for Brentford as he poses a massive threat in one-on-one scenarios. Schade scored his first goal for the Bees in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace and the goal was definitely worth the wait. The movement, dribbling and quick turn of pace before smashing the ball into the top corner is what Schade's all about and he is another player alongside teammates Bryan Mbuemo and Yohan Wissa who can create many chances when going forward. Schade appears to be growing in confidence and like Flekken he also joined from German side Freiburg. Schade has produced a lot of front foot positive play this season and Bees fans will be hoping he can keep this form up as he will be needed to play a massive part in earning Brentford points this season.
Brentford's next fixture is a 17:30 kick off at the Gtech Community Stadium against Everton on Saturday. The game will be broadcasted on Sky Sports and ought to be a tough fixture with both teams needing a win.