The signing of Mikkel Damsgaard seemed so obvious that had Brentford’s opponents tomorrow, Manchester United, made it, there would have been more mocking questions over how much the recruitment team is really doing to earn its coin.
It was Damsgaard that excelled in filling the creative void left in the Denmark side by Christian Eriksen’s collapse at last summer’s European Championship, and the 22-year-old is now faced with a similar task in west London.
Bees boss Thomas Frank called it a “classic Brentford signing”, not simply because it concerns a young Danish player but also because it involves the kind of calculated risk that could make a £12.6million fee look a bargain.
Damsgaard made just 11 Serie A appearances for Sampdoria last term due to thigh and knee injuries, and then arthritis, and was unable to kick on after a Euros that made him a target for more established top-tier clubs across the continent.
The midfielder says he is fit and ready to go after a full pre-season, but has not started a league match since October last year and expectations ought to be dampened, not least because he first faces a battle to find a place in the Brentford XI.
The Dane can operate centrally or out wide, but club-record signing Keane Lewis-Potter is waiting for his first Bees start in the latter position, while Josh Dasilva pushed his case for the former with a sensational goal off the bench in last week’s draw at Leicester.
Tomorrow, Eriksen returns to Brentford with a United side already in desperate need of three points, but it may take time for Bees fans to see the best of his replacement.