When Mark Warburton’s departure from Brentford was announced before the end of last season, with the London club still fighting for promotion to the Premier League, there was a collective eyebrow raised.
Disputes over how to run the Championship club, with Bees owner Matthew Benham preferring the now clichéd “Moneyball” approach, were rumoured to be at the heart of the split. However, Brentford’s loss has been Rangers’ gain, with Warburton inspiring an unbeaten start to the current campaign.
Now that the transfer window is fully padlocked until January, and with both clubs experiencing differing form lines, an interesting question is up for debate: Is Warburton’s classical approach or Brentford’s statistical obsession looking the better transfer strategy at this early stage?
Clearly, one look at the respective league tables would suggest Warburton, at his new club, has more to brag about.
Rangers are seven from seven in the Ladbrokes Championship, with 24 goals scored and just four conceded. Brentford, meanwhile, have followed up their trip to last season’s playoffs with a stuttering start to 2015/16, with two wins from their opening seven games.
While the obvious difference in quality between the two divisions can be used as an explanation for that, it is interesting to look at how much the pair’s summer signings have impacted their two positions.
Warburton’s recruits have left numerous fingerprints over the Scottish club’s superb start to the season. Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, defenders James Tavernier and Danny Wilson, midfielder Andy Halliday and striker Martyn Waghorn have all been ever present in the former City worker’s starting lineups.
Waghorn, with eight goals in those starts, has left an immediate mark on his Rangers career, but Tavernier has also provided crucial moments of inspiration, while Foderingham and Wilson have helped form an almost impenetrable backline.
Despite bringing in 11 new faces to Ibrox, Warburton has ensured the cohesion in the side has not been affected and the likes of Rob Kiernan and Jason Holt have helped strengthen the starting XI with their arrivals.
In comparison, new Brentford manager Marinus Dijkhuizen has already found it necessary to dispel theories that he has now say in transfer deals, and has been left to rue an injury crisis that he claims comes from signing foreign players.
The transfer think-tank at Griffin Park, Phil Giles and Rasmus Ankersen, signed 12 new players during the summer, but needed to name two goalkeepers on the bench for their recent clash with Middlesbrough.
A relentless Tuesday-Saturday fixture schedule has already taken its toll on signings unaccustomed to Championship football, according to Dijkhuizen, which perhaps stats don’t necessarily cover when scouring the German and French lower leagues for players.
Record signing Andreas Bjelland is out for the season with a knee ligament injury, while six other new faces had fitness issues before the weekend’s victory over Preston.
Only Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Lasse Vibe have been regulars for the Bees so far and with important players like Andre Gray leaving the club this summer, it looks as though Warburton will be quite content with his new situation.
Rangers are 1/25 to win the Ladbrokes Championship, while Brentford are 7/1 to be promoted to the Premier League.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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