It was make or break for Brentford in the play-off final against Fulham. They broke.
After a scintillating, breath-taking, heart-pounding campaign in which the Bees notched a league-high 80 goals, Thomas Frank’s side froze on the biggest stage of them all, ensuring they’ll be a Championship side for at least another year.
But while Brentford may be a second tier side next season, a fair few of their players may not.
The Premier League vultures are already beginning to circle, with the famous BMW frontline proving hot property this summer.
Saïd Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins notched a staggering 57 league goals between them last season (not including two more in the play-offs) – a total that nine Championship teams failed to surpass – leading to widespread speculation regarding their futures.
So, with ‘BMW’ attracting a whole host of admirers, let’s take a look at whether each player is likely to leave this summer and which clubs would suit them best.
Benrahma has been Brentford’s best player since arriving in 2018 and of the three forwards he looks the most likely to be on his way out.
Just about every club in the Premier League has been linked with the magical Algerian at one point or another, and he seems destined for a move to the top flight.
With the Bees hierarchy said to be demanding a fee of around £25m for the former Nice winger, some clubs may have been deterred by the 24-year-old’s non-existent display at Wembley.
One of the many clubs whose name has been mentioned as a potential suitor for Benrahma is Crystal Palace.
With Wilfried Zaha’s future at Selhurst Park yet again up in the air, the Brentford man would offer an alternative (although granted not at the same level) and leave the club with additional funds to strengthen elsewhere.
Palace fielded the oldest average starting XI in the Premier League last season. Were they to secure the signing of the 24-year-old ahead of a host of interested sides, it would represent a step in the right direction and a marquee signing for the club.
15 goals and eight assists represent a fine return from Mbeumo in his maiden Championship campaign, though inconsistency has been an issue for the 20-year-old.
Having only made a handful of appearances in Ligue 1 prior to his move to Brentford, inexperience was always likely to play a part and it’s clear the youngster still has a lot to learn.
The former Troyes striker’s sporadic dips in form are perhaps the reason he hasn’t attracted the interest his strike partners have, though that’s not to say he’s been without his admirers.
Despite his clear potential, a move to the Premier League seems a little premature and both Mbeumo and Brentford would benefit from the 20-year-old spending another season in the Championship.
Only Aleksandar Mitrovic hit more than Watkins in the second tier this season, with the former Exeter man bagging 25 goals in 46 league games.
The 24-year-old is said to have had an £18m price tag placed on him by Brentford, news which has alerted a number of Premier League clubs including Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Leeds United.
Dean Smith revealed prior to the play-off final that he’d tried to sign Watkins while manager of Brentford and confirmed he was still a big admirer of the centre forward.
With Aston Villa struggling for goals and seemingly keen on providing a focal point to their attack who others can play off, Watkins would provide the perfect foil.
The Brentford man is quick, powerful and useful in the air, and he could offer healthy competition at a reasonable price once Wesley has regained fitness.