Pontus Jansson may have made one of the most sensible decisions of the summer by opting to join Brentford from Leeds.
The Championship promotion race promises to be an enticing spectacle this year, but the Swede actually has a better chance of becoming a Premier League player now he is at Griffin Park, despite, according to the bookies, Leeds being favourites for the title.
Reports varied on the reason behind Jansson’s departure, but according to journalist Phil Hay one too many disputes with Marcelo Bielsa meant he was shown the exit door.
As one of the best defenders in the division he surely had a plethora of options available, with Fulham mentioned as a possible destination, but the surprise switch to Brentford could prove to be an inspired one.
Both clubs have got off to decent starts, and the 28-year-old has already had a positive impact on the Brentford defence, with the only goal they have conceded in two Championship matches being a freak header from outside the box scored by Birmingham’s Kristian Pedersen.
Brentford were very inconsistent last season, but Jansson’s arrival should shore up a defence which conceded 59 goals last season, and if they manage that they should have enough in attack to fire them up the league, with Ollie Watkins already looking promising since replacing the departed Neal Maupay.
By comparison, Leeds will have to rely on the inexperienced Ben White and, although he has done well so far, it is asking a great deal from a young player to perform consistently across his first Championship season, and Leeds could come undone as a result.
Moreover, the departure of Kemar Roofe leaves them very light in attack, and once again there could be too much reliance on an ageing Pablo Hernandez to score and produce. A significant injury to him would likely derail Leeds’ season, whilst Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah may not be the most reliable goalscorers.
Another worry is the future of Kalvin Phillips, with Wolves still interested a possible January move would halt Leeds’ promotion campaign. Brentford, meanwhile, have shown they can easily bounce back from players leaving.
Brentford are not only shrewd negotiators of the transfer market but they also have much better strength in depth than Leeds.
The arrivals of Ethan Pinnock, Mathias Jensen and Christian Norgaard appear to be very shrewd additions, whilst keeping hold of Said Benrahma and Sergi Canos could prove pivotal, with the latter proving decisive against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Last season there was little to separate the sides in terms of average possession and average shots on goal, but now Brentford have had a full season under Thomas Frank they should be even better in those departments.
Dean Smith’s departure last year was a significant blow at a time when Brentford looked set to mount a play-off push, but now the side is more used to how Frank wants to play and they should become a more consistent outfit.
Going for promotion is unchartered territory for Brentford but that is the only concern, and after Leeds blew out at the end of last season there will once again be doubts over whether they can maintain results across the entire year, and if that plays on the mind of the players they could very well be disrupted.
Jansson was a leader at Leeds. That dressing room’s loss is Brentford’s gain, and that alone could be the difference in a number of points, with Jansson’s performances on the pitch, as well as that of other additions, likely to level the playing field.