Goalkeeper David Raya has joined Arsenal on a season-long loan, with an option for the Gunners to make the transfer permanent.
Before departing, Raya signed a new two-year contract with Brentford, with a club option for an additional 12 months.
"I’m sure the first question that all Brentford fans will ask is why this transfer has been structured as an initial loan with Arsenal having the option to make it permanent in the future,” said Brentford director of football Phil Giles.
“The answer to that is simply that it enables this deal to be done more rapidly between both clubs, with all parties wanting to make this a permanent transfer as soon as practically possible, whenever that might be.
“David’s contract extension is a fall-back position in the event that the transfer is not made permanent. I’m not expecting to see David back at Brentford, although if ever that happened then of course the opportunity to work with such a high-class goalkeeper for up to two more years would in many ways be an unexpected bonus for us.
“David has been a magnificent goalkeeper for us. He thoroughly deserves his move to a Champions League club and the next step in his career. In our view he is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and will show himself to be one of the best in the world in the next few seasons.
“On top of that, he is a fantastic human being, and his conduct around the training ground these last few weeks has been, given the uncertainty around his future, absolutely exemplary. We wish him nothing but good luck.”
Raya joined Brentford in July 2019 from Blackburn Rovers. He made 49 appearances during a debut season that culminated in a play-off final defeat to Fulham. His 16 clean sheets in the Sky Bet Championship saw him share the EFL Golden Glove award with Bartosz Białkowski.
The Bees went one better the following campaign, with Raya integral to the side’s success. The Spaniard made 48 appearances in all competitions, keeping 17 clean sheets, as Brentford again forged a path to Wembley Stadium, beating Swansea City in the play-off final to earn a first promotion to the Premier League.
Brentford celebrated their return to the top flight after a 74-year absence by opening the 2021/22 Premier League campaign with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal. Raya enjoyed an impressive start to the season, keeping three clean sheets in the Bees’ opening nine league games, but a knee injury sustained against Leicester City in October disrupted his momentum.
Raya returned in February and made a further 13 league appearances for Brentford that season as the Bees finished 13th. He earned his maiden international call-up in March 2022 and made his first appearance for Spain in a 2-1 win over Albania.
Raya was an ever-present for Brentford in the Premier League last term as Thomas Frank’s side ended the season in ninth. He made a second appearance for Spain against Jordan in November, was an unused substitute during his nation’s victorious 2022/23 UEFA Nations League campaign and was part of the squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With 20 clean sheets in 62 Premier League appearances, Raya is second to Joe Crozier (25) for most top-flight shutouts in Brentford history.