Brentford face tough task as Raya admits European goals after turning down two contract offers

Ciaran McCarthy
David Raya, Brentford, January 2023

Brentford goalkeeper David Raya has admitted he’s “turned down two contracts” from the club as they weren’t the offers he was “looking for,” while also admitting his desire to “play in Europe” and “win a title”.

Raya has long been one of Brentford’s most influential assets. Indeed, he kept 16 cleans sheets in both seasons with the Bees while they were in the Championship.

He kept his no.1 spot the after promotion to the Premier League, where he kept eight clean sheets in his first season, conceding just 27 goals in 24 games.

He’s played one game less this season – 23 – and has already kept eight clean sheets. As such, it looks like he’s on course for a great tally come the end of the season.

That tally has him joint fourth in terms of clean sheets in the league. He’s level with Ederson, who plays for second-placed Manchester City.

As such, he’s clearly in the conversation of the best goalkeepers in the league. And it seems he might want a move to a club that will reflect that status.

Indeed, Raya has admitted he’s turned down two offers to remain with Brentford recently.

“I turned down two contracts, one last year and one this January. They weren’t the offers we were looking for. I can only say that,” he told The Athletic.

“I have a contract here, so I’m willing to finish that, but you never know what’s going to happen in the summer. Maybe the club wants to sell, maybe not. Maybe I want to stay. I want to focus on football and see what happens.”

Indeed, that contract runs out at the end of next season. And that the Spaniard has already rejected offers to renew it twice does not bode well for Brentford.

Interest from big teams is likely in the back of Raya’s mind. He’s been linked with moves to Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea of late. The chance to play for one of those big sides is one that lines up with his ambitions of winning trophies.

“I have big ambitions. I want to play in Europe and I want to fight to win a title. I want to fight to win a European title. I trust myself to be able to play in those types of games,” Raya added.

A move to either Man Utd or Tottenham would be a step up for Raya. Chelsea are actually below Brentford at the moment, but with the talent in their ranks, they’ll hope it won’t be long before things click into place.

Tottenham might be the best option. Ageing Hugo Lloris has become more and more susceptible to mistakes and Spurs have been told to bring in a “top class goalkeeper” with the current incumbent “costing them matches”.

His Spurs career could fizzle out if Fraser Forster does well in his absence and Raya is signed in the summer.

The other options seem slightly less likely. David De Gea is still one of the world’s best goalkeepers, he’s got the second-most league clean sheets this season and despite his contract running out at the end of the season, it would be surprising if he was not to extend.

And Chelsea have two top-class goalkeepers at the club. That might be one come the summer, if Edouard Mendy decides there’s no place for him. But Kepa Arrizabalaga is a top goalkeeper to contend with, while Spurs seems a much simpler chance.

Not that it’s likely Raya will get that choice, if he’s sold – which seems likely with a year left on his deal and no sign of a desire to stay – it’ll be to the highest bidder, whoever that may be.

Spurs and United will likely be in a European spot come the end of the season. If Brentford are as well, they could have a chance of keeping Raya, though run the risk of him walking away for free the following season.

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