Brentford have drawn a lot of praise for their recruitment in recent years, almost all of it justified.
The Bees’ ability to effectively replace outgoing talent has been remarkable, particularly in the final third, and is a huge part of why they’re fighting at the top of the Championship this term.
Not every move comes off, however, and winger Joel Valencia is certainly a player that is yet to convince in west London.
The 26-year-old joined Brentford in the summer of 2019 on the back of a season that saw him add six goals and six assists as he helped Piast Gliwice to their first Polish league title.
He was unable to transfer that form to the Championship, however, and was little more than a bit-part player last season – playing just 317 minutes of league football and finding the net only once.
Valencia was sent on loan back to Poland in September, joining Legia Warsaw for the 2020/21 campaign, but has not been able to recreate the quality he showed in the division a few years ago.
His side have been battling at the top of the Ekstraklasa but the winger has struggled to hold down a place, featuring 12 times since his arrival.
The former Spain U17 international has featured on the flanks and in the number 10 role but his attacking output has been lacking.
He’s not scored or provided a single assist, while he’s won just 38.9% of his defensive duels, registered only two shots on target, and made just 12 successful crosses (Wyscout).
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Little of what Valencia has done away from the Brentford Community Stadium this season is likely to convince Thomas Frank that he could be a useful weapon moving forward.
His chances of fighting his way back into contention once he returns to the Bees would look even slimmer if they were to secure promotion to the Premier League this season.
It would be unfair to write him off completely but it seems as though the winger may be one of the club’s few recent attacking transfers that doesn’t work out because it’s hard to see a future for him at the club at this point.