Following their promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs, Brentford are preparing for life in the top flight.
Sources have informed Football League World that Middlesbrough centre-back Dael Fry is someone that the Bees have been scouting and have identified as a summer transfer target.
With the window now open, we’ve examined Fry’s career to date and assessed whether this a move that Brentford should be making…
Is it a good potential move?
Yes and no.
Given the injury issues that Pontus Jansson has faced since he joined Brentford, you feel looking to add more cover at centre-back ahead of their first season in the Premier League is the right move.
That said, while Fry is certainly a quality performer his lack of experience above the Championship means that his arrival would not be without its risks – particularly given neither Jansson nor Ethan Pinnock have played at that level either.
Long term, the signing of the Boro centre-back could pay real dividends but you’d question whether Brentford are better looking to sign an experienced defender to help them establish themselves in the Premier League.
Signing Fry, who still has two years left on his current deal, is not likely to be cheap with Neil Warnock indicating that the £10 million Burnley are thought to have offered was nowhere near his worth.
Did each of these 20 players ever score a goal whilst on loan at Brentford?
Would he start?
It depends whether or not Thomas Frank moves back to a back four once Rico Henry is back.
Fry would likely start if Brentford continue to play a back three in the Premier League but should they shift back to a system with two centre-backs, you feel Pinnock and Jansson would be above him in the pecking order.
What does he offer?
Defensively, the 23-year-old has got everything you’d look for in a young centre-back.
He’s solid and prefers to trust his reading of the game rather than rush into challenges.
His statistics for Boro last season, sourced from Whoscored, are evidence of that as he ranked 11th in the squad for tackles per game (0.9) but was third in terms of interceptions per game (1.8), second when it comes to clearances per game (3.9), and top in blocks per game (0.8).
Fry isn’t the tallest but he’s useful in the air, as his 6.2 aerial duels won per game last term illustrate, but he one area of his game that he’ll want to improve on is in the threat he offers final third – having scored just once in his senior career.
On top of that, you feel the Bees would want him to develop his game with the ball at his feet as his pass accuracy of 58.3% is poor and wouldn’t fit in with the way Frank asks his defenders to play.
Fry has a fair bit of first team experience for a defender of his age, with 138 appearances for Boro already, but his lack of Premier League