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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Malik Ouzia

David Raya sees Brentford future in balance as Chelsea and Tottenham seek cut-price transfer

In demand: Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United all all vying for Brentford goalkeeper David Raya

(Picture: Getty Images)

One of the quirks of Brentford’s impressive first 18 months in the Premier League has been the ease with which they appear to have resisted the big-spending vultures.

From Rico Henry at left-back, Christian Norgaard in midfield, through to talismanic top-scorer Ivan Toney, Thomas Frank’s squad includes several players who are among the division’s most consistent performers, players who would markedly improve many of their rivals with greater resource.

And yet, publicly at least, there have been no transfer sagas, no boat-rockers seeking greener grass. Indeed, the only player to have departed TW8 and weakened Frank’s first team since they were promoted in 2021 is Christian Eriksen, who only joined on a short-term deal last January and over whom the club had no contractual control as he left for Manchester United as a free agent.

The Bees’ resolve may be more firmly tested this summer, however, with several top clubs targeting goalkeeper David Raya.

With Hugo Lloris’s form clearly in decline following a series of high-profile errors, including costly ones against Arsenal and Manchester City in the last few days alone, Tottenham are on the lookout for a new goalkeeper.

Chelsea are in the market, too, with one of Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga expected to be sold, while United are also thinking about the future beyond David de Gea, after loaning likely successor Dean Henderson to Nottingham Forest last summer.

Raya, who travelled to the World Cup in Qatar with Spain but did not play, was a target for Arsenal while Brentford were still a Championship club, but has since proven himself a top-flight performer, the Bees’ most notable wobble during their debut campaign coming while their No1 was sidelined.

This season has not been a vintage one so far for goalkeepers, but Raya has been outstanding, making more saves than any other keeper in the division and showcasing the kind of distribution that has piqued the interest of those suitors, particularly Spurs, for whom Lloris’s weakness in possession is an obvious vulnerability.

Brentford have been notably proactive in tying key assets to long-term deals, Mathias Jensen the latest to sign a new contract this week. Raya, though, is an exception, with just 18 months on his current deal. A queue is already forming, all seeking a cut-price deal.

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