Championship club Brentford have confirmed the loan departure of Joel Valencia. The attacking-midfielder is joining Polish side Legia Warsaw on a season-long loan.
Joel Valencia Completes Loan Move
— Legia Warsaw (@LegiaWarsawEN) September 16, 2020
A Good Move
Currently, Valencia is struggling to make an impact at Brentford. He arrived at the club in July 2019, for an undisclosed fee.
He was lauded as a huge signing, as he was joining from Gliwicki Klub Sportowy Piast Gliwice, who were the reigning champions of Poland. This was the first time in the Piast Gliwice’s history that they had finished as league champions.
In addition, Valencia personally won various awards for aiding Gliwice, including the Polish Player of the Year Award.
At the time of Valencia’s signing, the Brentford Head Coach – Thomas Frank – was really enthusiastic. Speaking in July 2019, Frank told the Official Brentford FC website:
“Joel had an excellent season last season and was one of the main reasons Piast Gliwice won the league for the first time.
“He produced goals and assists and also created lots of other chances. His output in terms of goals and assist can be even higher and he will develop as a player with us.”
Sadly, a year on, and Frank’s words have yet to materialise into reality.
A Spot Of Bad Luck
Things began quite well for Valencia as he quickly made his full first team debut at Brentford. This came in Brentford’s 1-1 draw with League 2 club Cambridge United in the First Round of the EFL Cup. However, this has so far proved to be one of only 4 games that he has started for Brentford.
After the Cambridge match, he was dropped to the substitutes bench. Eventually, he made his full debut in a Championship game at Wigan Athletic in early November. Sadly, Valencia sustained an injury to his collarbone that kept him out of contention for several weeks.
After returning to full-fitness, he was unable to regain a starting role.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2019/20 Championship season suffered a suspension. When it returned, Valencia scored his first Brentford goal. This was a superb long-range goal in a game at Reading.
In total, Valencia has so far appeared 24 times for Brentford, scoring 1 goal. This includes a substitute’s appearance earlier this month, during Brentford’s EFL tie against Wycombe Wanderers.
Not Giving Up Hope On Joel Valencia
Frank, perhaps based on Valencia’s end of season performances, has not given up hope of the 25-year-old midfielder making an impact at Brentford. He confirmed his thoughts in an interview in July.
Speaking, Frank said: “When you come to the Championship, it takes time to adapt.
“After two months he (Valencia) looked better and better, started against Wigan, we won 3-0, but then he was subbed off with an injury to his collarbone, and was out for six weeks.
“But he has been working unbelievably hard through all of that (sic), and he is a top player for the group, and I think his time will come. I believe he has a long-term future here.”
It is quite possible that Valencia will, in the future, prove an asset to Brentford. He is only 1 year into his 4-year contract. Even with his season long loan at Legia Warsaw, he will still have a further 2-years to establish himself in west London.
However, for now, he is expected to make his Legia Warsaw debut on Sunday, when his new club host Górnik Zabrze.
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