Josh McEachran
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Can Josh McEachran capture help Brentford catch up?

| 10.07.2015

After a turbulent campaign featuring highs, such as a temporary best-ever Championship placing of third, and lows, including a 5-1 aggregate promotion play-off drubbing at the hands of Middlesbrough, Brentford have a summer transfer challenge on their hands.

The Championship surprise package (3/1 for promotion), who finished third in their first term back in England’s second-tier, narrowly missing out on what would have been an astonishing rise to the Premier League, must rally to avoid second season syndrome.

Brentford’s poor end of term form report can be easily attributed to the announcement that inspirational manager Mark Warburton, now at Scottish giants Rangers, was to leave the Bees behind, reportedly due to issues with owner Matthew Benham.

Now the west London club have a new gaffer in the dugout at Griffin Park, though Dutch coach Marinus Dijkhuizen’s transfer policy, which could be so key next campaign against big-spending competitors Derby County and ambitious pair Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough, has been a mixed bag so far.

The blow of losing Spurs-owned loan star Alex Pritchard, who hit 12 goals and seven assists in a storming Championship season, is in stark contrast to the cunning club-record £2.1m capture of Denmark defender Andreas Bjelland, formerly Eredivisie outfit Twente’s talented captain.

Having conceded more goals than any other top six team in England’s second tier last term, it was wise to secure their spine first and foremost, but with Pritchard’s departure the Bees may lack the brilliance to rack up another Championship haul of 78 strikes.

Could all that be set to change with the recent signing of Chelsea-owned midfielder Josh McEachran?

The Bees are a club who can only spend within their means, and their snaring of the Blues academy orchestrator for a rumoured fee of £750k which, for one of Chelsea’s once most highly-rated youngsters, can be considered quite a coup should they succeed.

However, as more of a deep-lying player than compatriot Pritchard, McEachran, a slight figure who has previously struggled with the physical and grittier aspects of English football, is unlikely to provide the same goal and assist stats. The youngster prefers to influence and dictate, so his contributions are easy to overlook.

That burden may fall to Bosman bargain Akaki Gogia, who struck 11 and assisted nine in the German third tier, with Spanish schemer Jota linked to a summer switch away from Griffin Park, though the step up is a big ask of the 23-year-old.

Fellow free signing Ryan Williams plus undisclosed addition Konstantin Kerschbaumer, meanwhile, should ensure there is already much competition in central midfield before McEachran even arrives.

The now 22-year-old, once tipped to be England’s answer to Spain talents such as Xavi Hernandez, and also reportedly preferred by the Blues over a young Christian Eriksen, has so much to prove.

Challenging loan stints at Swansea City, Middlesbrough, Watford and Wigan Atheltic saw the young-gun shipped-off to the continent with feeder club Vitesse Arnhem, in the hopes that McEachran’s cultured passing and technical ability would see him evolve in Europe.

Having made just 21 outings for the Dutch club, contributing three assists, it was always doubtful that McEachran would be given a shot at Stamford Bridge, but now the Englishman has his chance to return from exile and back to British soil.

See why McEachran was so highly-rated:

For Brentford, at such a rumoured low fee their is little risk, only benefits, to be reaped from a player eager to impress in what could be a last chance saloon to reach the highest level. Though it remains to be seen whether the Bees (9/1 to win the Championship) can afford to support such a luxury player, if the Londoners surround McEachran with a strong spine, his potential could still be unearthed.



Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.