Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

David Raya is not for sale, Brentford warn Arsenal

Posted on 11 September 2020 by Kiran Tom Sajan

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Brentford FC are ready to let go talisman Said Benrahma for the ‘right’ price, said manager Thomas Frank. The Dane, however, is prepared to ignore offers for the others, including David Raya, who is targeted by Arsenal.

“If the price is right for Said Benrahma, then we are open [to sell]. Because it’s the way football works. The rest are not for sale,” Frank said.

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Arsenal have identified goalkeeper Raya as a potential replacement for Emiliano Martinez should the Argentine be sold. Mikel Arteta and goalkeeping coach Inaka Cana, who previously worked with Frank at Brentford, see the Spaniard as the perfect understudy to Bernd Leno.

But the Bees manager is determined to ward off interests from the premier league for Raya or any other player besides their wily winger Benrahma, who scored 17 goals in the Championship last season.

Brentford are set to play their first league game of 2020-21 against Birmingham on Saturday having recently sold their 26-goal striker Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa.

The Englishman’s switch to the premier league was for a Championship-record £28 million, potentially rising to £33 million in add-ons and the West Londoners would expect a fee in the same range for their Algerian winger.

Both Benrahma and Watkins were key to Brentford’s brilliant campaign last season, in which they narrowly missed out on promotion after losing to Fulham in the playoff final.

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Despite losing their best striker, Frank said he is proud of what his club has achieved by selling him.

“Everyone knows that we have a clear strategy in how we run the club. We want to progress a little bit every year as a club and as a team. We also know that we are very good in the transfer market and good in developing players.

“I need to praise all my staff to help develop Ollie Watkins into a top striker. We are all very proud of what we achieved with selling him. It’s a record sale, I heard, in the Championship. It’s another statement from our club. We all know we do things like that. We need to do it again. That’s something that drives us to improve.”