Tottenham Hotspur are interested in signing David Raya to be their next first choice goalkeeper and are close to agreeing personal terms with the player. Brentford are willing to sell him. All seems pretty good and normal, right? Yup. So is the fact that Brentford are negotiating the transfer fee via the press, reportedly holding firm on their £40m valuation. But don’t let that get in the way of making you already internet-mad about this potential deal two days before the window opens.
The latest press salvo over Raya comes courtesy of Brentford technical director Lee Dykes, who was asked by the press about a hypothetical £20m bid. Dykes made it perfectly clear that, no, that fictional offer which Tottenham didn’t actually make would not be enough to purchase their surplus to requirements keeper, which they have valued at £40m and whom they have already replaced in the squad.
“Listen, the market sets itself. This summer will be a big goalkeeper market, there’s a lot of goalkeepers that will be available. Phil and Matt will assess the valuation at the time. My point at David Raya is you need to pay double because he can play No10. You get two positions...
“I think he’s one of the best in the Premier League which puts him one of the best in the world. He’s in a really good moment as a goalkeeper and he’s well within his rights to say, ‘Maybe I want to explore my options’. That’s fine. No probs.
“We signed him again in 2019, that first summer. I’d seen him come through his loan spells in the lower leagues and really develop at Blackburn. It was a great deal for us but effectively we’ve had a plan for him and we’re OK with that.
“We’ll replace him if we need to replace him or he’ll sign a new deal and stay. What will be will be. We have to understand that at Brentford, like Brighton, there are bigger clubs at there that can hunt for these players and we’re always of the mindset that if we help them get to the very top level, we’ve played our part.
“As long as the club’s remunerated adequately for any potential transfer, I’m sure Phil [Giles, director of football] and Matt [Benham, owner] will make the right decision.”
You mean Giles wouldn’t admit to the press that he’d take half of the club’s stated valuation for one of Brentford’s most salable assets? Oh no! If only there was a number between 20m and 40m! The interesting thing about Giles’ comments is that he knows that if Raya wants to leave there’s probably not too much the club can do to keep him from leaving, and they know it, so they’re talking loud in the press about fees and stuff.
Leaving aside the notion that Tottenham might consider playing David Raya at the #10 position even if he could theoretically do it (then who would play in goal?), Spurs have yet to make a bid, though they probably will soon. And I’m going to guess that this bid will be less than £40m, because that’s how negotiations work. Brentford’s probably going to laugh derisively and publicly about that bid, more negotiations will go on behind the scenes since the player is close to agreeing to move anyway, and the final valuation will be either at a price acceptably below £40m or one that includes reasonable performance-based escalators that kick in over time. Along the way Spurs may pretend to move to another target to kick-start negotiations, or Brentford will pretend to sell Raya to a different club that may or may not be interested but also probably not for £40m.
There’s a lot to like about Raya — he’s good with his feet, entering his prime years for a keeper, and is home-grown, something that could become an issue this summer depending on who stays and goes. But £40m is a large fee for a guy who everyone knows is leaving Brentford this summer, and all of what we’re seeing now is just performative horse trading before both sides eventually hammer out a deal.
I realize that at some level this article is me making up a guy and then getting mad at that imaginary guy, but the thing is I’ve seen this guy on social media already. That person is pretty dumb. You, smart reader of Cartilage Free Captain, are not that person. This is how the transfer window works.