Will Brentford’s new signing be more successful than previous strikers who have swapped the Pro League for Aston Villa and Southampton?

Yesterday it was confirmed that Brentford had signed Igor Thiago from Club Brugge and in the process broke the transfer record in Belgium. The 22-year-old striker had a slow start to his career in the Pro League, but since then has gone on to grab 16 goals in 23 games. Once again Club Brugge have shown they are one of the best teams in Belgium for extracting maximum value for their players.

Yet it was certainly a surprise to many that it was Thiago and not Nusa that was leaving, and in the process breaking the transfer record in Belgium. He becomes the second Brazilian striker over the last few years to swap the Pro League for the Premier League. Back in 2019, Wesley Moraes joined Aston Villa for around €25m. The imposing forward was coming off an impressive 2018/2019 season with 13 goals and 10 assists in 38 Pro League appearances. Yet he struggled in the Premier League with Aston Villa. In 26 games over two seasons he scored six goals, with five of those coming in his first season. He is now at Stoke City where he is yet to score in 23 appearances.

Another top striker from the Pro League who joined the Premier League was Mbwana Samatta. The Tanzanian striker was one of the top strikers in the Belgian Pro League during his time with Genk, scoring 82 goals in 222 appearances. He cost Aston Villa €10.5m in the winter of 2020. After just two goals in 16 games, he was loaned out to a number of sides, including Antwerp and Genk before joining Greek side PAOK.

The final one in recent years was another top Genk striker in Paul Onuachu. The tall Nigerian forward was brought in by Southampton for €18m with the hopes he would bring the Genk form to help keep the Saints in the league. Yet he could not translate his incredible record of 85 goals in 134 games for Genk to a struggling Southampton team. After 12 goalless games he has been loaned out to Trabzonspor.

Thiago will certainly be hoping to buck this trend of recent times where top strikers in Belgium have struggled to adjust to the Premier League. Club Brugge on the other hand will be confident that they can use just a fraction of the fee to replace the forward and improve other areas of the squad. To sell at such a high price but keep the inform forward for the rest of the season is an incredibly shrewd piece of business once again.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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