Pontus Jansson will leave Brentford at the end of his contract this summer to join Swedish side Malmo.
The return to his boyhood club will conclude Jansson’s four-year association with the Bees, the crowning moment of which came when he lifted the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off final trophy at Wembley in May 2021, ending Brentford’s 74-year wait for a return to the top tier of English football.
“It is tough to put these last four years into words,” said Jansson.
“I am so thankful for my time here and the journey that the club and I have been on. When I joined, we were a middle of the Championship club and now I’m leaving a club that’s hopefully about to finish top 10 in the Premier League.
“I’ve been on a massive personal journey as well. I matured into a captain, and a leader, because of this club.
“I want to thank Matthew Benham, Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles for giving me a chance; I wasn’t a normal Brentford signing but they had faith in me, and I delivered.
“I owe so much to Thomas Frank for everything that he’s done for me, on and off the pitch, over the past four years. I also want to thank all the staff here who’ve made me the best version of myself as a person and a footballer.
“The Brentford fans took me into their hearts from day one and the love has only grown between us. I wanted to play every game between now and the end of the season to finish on a high, but injury means that is not possible.
“As sad as it is to think that I’ve played my final game in red and white, I have so much pride looking back on my time here. I know I am leaving the club in good hands to continue on this wonderful journey.”
Jansson reflects on fulfilling his promotion dream at Wembley Stadium, captaining the Bees during the club’s first season in the Premier League, and his desire to bring his career full circle with a return to Sweden in The Long Read.
After joining from Leeds United in the summer of 2019, Jansson was immediately installed as club captain, leading Thomas Frank’s side to the Play-Off final during his first season in west London. Beaten by Fulham that night, there would be a much happier return to Wembley the following season.
On that unforgettable May afternoon, Jansson skippered the Bees to a 2-0 victory over Swansea City, writing his name into the history books as only the second player to captain Brentford to top-flight promotion.
Pontus took the step up in his stride. He started all but one Premier League game the following season and scored his first goal for the club in December’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Watford at the Gtech Community Stadium.
The return game provided one of Jansson’s most memorable moments in a Brentford shirt, the defender heading home a 95th-minute winner in front of the away fans at Vicarage Road.
Jansson added another goal, at home to Southampton, and reached his century of appearances for the club before the season was up.
The former Sweden international played a further 12 Premier League games this campaign, scoring in this month’s 3-3 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.
With the hamstring injury picked up last weekend against Newcastle United set to keep him out for the rest of the season, Pontus will leave TW8 having played 115 games for Brentford, scoring four goals. The 32-year-old also earned five Sweden caps during his time with the club.
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Pontus over the last four years. He came in and was a big part of the reason why we could, straight away, compete for Premier League promotion; he helped us become one of the best defences in the Championship that year.
“His leadership, quality and experience helped us those two years in the Championship before we finally got that deserved promotion.
“I know it was a big dream for Pontus to play in the Premier League and he probably played his best season that first year in the Premier League.
“No matter who you are coaching you always create relationships with the players, some stronger than others, and Pontus is one of the players I created a strong bond with. He’s given so much to the club and the team. I wish him and his family all the best for the future.”
Director of football Phil Giles added: “When we signed Pontus it was with a clear intention that we could increase our chances of being promoted by signing an experienced centre-back. Pontus leaves having achieved that goal and he should be very proud of his achievements.
“Everybody connected with Brentford will want to thank him for what he has done for us and wish him well back home with Malmo.”