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Premier League teams are suddenly queuing up to sign Brentford’s Spanish attacker Jota, with Newcastle at the head of the line.
The former Celta Vigo man, 25, hit 12 goals and contributed 5 assists to the cause last season, meaning he was involved in a goal every 100 minutes for the mid-table Londoners. That’s an enviable record and one that will be hard to directly replace. However, there are certainly options out there.
19 of Jota’s 22 starts last season were out on the right, using his left foot to good effect when cutting inside in the style of a typical modern winger. Here we look at two similar players who could replace a good portion of the Spaniard’s quality at Griffin Park.
Having gained his education with Newcastle United’s under-18’s, Maddison went down the leagues to nearby Gateshead to get experience and the winger quickly gained a good reputation.
A chance was taken on him in league football by Peterborough back in 2014 and he has not let them down. Some cool finishes from tight angles, expert free kicks and mazy runs mark him out as a player who seems to be above League One.
A chance should be taken on Maddison now in the Championship and his fee would certainly be within Brentford’s reach. 9 goals and an astonishing 17 assists came his way last season in League One, with the winger contributing a goal every 126 minutes in the league.
One of QPR’s top performers, Freeman is left-footed and can play right across the attack. A standout performer at Loftus Road last season, the 25-year-old may be a want-away player over the summer, with things not looking too positive.
A move to neighbours Brentford would mean no logistical problems for the player or his family, and there is little doubt about the Bees affording him, especially with the money made from Jota’s sale being available. Across spells at QPR and Bristol City last season, Freeman managed 4 goals and 4 assists, with his involvement in a goal coming once in every 295 minutes. It doesn’t stand up to Jota’s numbers of course, but there will be improvement next season.
Freeman has a real future in the game at this level. While he would not be a ‘marquee’ signing, he would be a solid one and a player of great value.