Neal Maupay says that his return to Brentford feels like a homecoming.
The striker, who scored 41 goals in 95 games for the Bees between 2017 and 2019, re-joined the club on a season-long loan from Everton on transfer deadline day, which includes an option to make the transfer permanent.
“It feels like I never left,” said Maupay. “I’ve always followed the club and been in touch with the manager [Thomas Frank], Kev [O’Connor], Peter [Gilham] and some of the players. It feels like home; it feels good to be here.
“The memories feel like yesterday. When I see the goals, I remember the atmosphere at Griffin Park. Brentford gave me my chance to play football in England. At the time I was just a young player, a kid, and now I’ve come back as a man.”
Maupay departed Brentford for Brighton and Hove Albion in August 2019 and went on to score 26 Premier League goals for the Seagulls, which placed him joint-22nd in terms of the most prolific marksmen in the top flight over that period.
He moved to Everton in August 2022 and played 30 times before his loan switch to Brentford.
And the Frenchman believes that his experiences over the past four seasons have made him a better player.
“I’m coming back with a different mindset,” he continued. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot – physically, tactically and in my understanding of the game.
“I’m still hungry. I’ve just turned 27 and I feel like I’m not even in the prime of my career.
“Being here, with this shirt on, gives me a boost. I just can’t wait to get started and do my thing.”
Maupay went on to reveal that his relationship with head coach Thomas Frank was a major factor in his decision to re-sign for the club.
“I know Thomas really well and he knows me perfectly,” he said. “We were together for two seasons and he knows my strengths and my weaknesses. He knows how to use me.
“During my second season with Thomas I scored 28 goals, which is my best season so far.
"I know he believes in me and that’s why I’m here. I want to help him, and I want to help the club to grow. The club is going in the right direction, and I want to be part of it again.”