This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
When Josh Brownhill joined Bristol City in June 2016, few would have assumed that he would be captaining the club at just 23 with an eye firmly on the Premier League.
At the time, the Warrington-born centre midfielder was playing his football at Preston North End, however, he failed to break into the first team at Preston when they reached the Championship and subsequently went on loan to Barnsley in League One in the final year of his contract at the club.
It was then when Lee Johnson and Bristol City began sniffing around. Then just 20, he snubbed a move to Preston and decided to join City as a free agent, although some compensation was owed (BBC).
Even before Brownhill had moved, it seems Johnson knew he had a potential leader on his hands, as his words suggests when the pre-contract deal was arranged.
The Bristol City manager said (BBC): “As well as being a good footballer he’s also a fantastic character.”
“He is a young, hungry, sought-after player who is experienced beyond his years in modern-day football, and we’ve beaten off competition from other clubs to get him.”
It didn’t take long for City’s new midfielder to start pushing for the first team. In his first season (16/17), he started 19 games for the Robins in the Championship and came on in eight.
Since then, he has been a dead cert starter for the club. In both the 17/18 and 18/19 season, he played 45 league games in both campaigns and has become the club captain this season. Furthermore, Brownhill has won back-to-back Young Player of the Year awards at the club, so perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise when bigger clubs started to show interest this year.
In the summer, Brighton and Hove Albion, Sheffield United, Leeds United and Derby County all allegedly took notice of Brownhill’s impressive and consistent form (Bristol Live), proving just how great this business was from Bristol City.
His value at the moment stands at £4.05m on Transfermarkt – a whole lot more than what they got him for. Given that the two key men to leave City last year cost £19.67m in Adam Webster and £13.32m in Lloyd Kelly (Transfermarkt), there’s really no reason to suggest why the 23-year-old captain would cost any less than Kelly’s fee considering the apparent Premier League interest.
With Brownhill’s contract expiring in 2021, Bristol City may feel they are in a situation where this could be his final season. If the club are unable to get promotion this season, then they may be forced to sell to stop him running his contract down at the club and losing him on a free.
Either way, if Brownhill is seen purely as a commodity then the club can look back and say they’ve genuinely profited hugely from the transfer. For a player picked up on a nominal fee, they have got a player who has played 142 matches, scored 13 goals and registered 11 assists.
This season, Brownhill has played every minute in City’s 11 matches and has the third-highest average rating in the squad with 7.14, according to WhoScored. Given his impressive start to the season, it’s giving the Robins a strong mandate to demand a lot of money, meaning that a huge profit could be to come from the Bristol City captain.
How much would Brownhill be worth? Join the discussion by commenting below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!