Joel Valencia has joined the reigning Ekstraklasa Champions, Legia Warsaw on a season-long loan. The 25-year-old completed his move earlier today, 16 September, and joins up with his new teammates ahead of Sunday’s game at home to Górnik Zabrze.
Joel arrived in West London last July from Piast Gliwice. His final season in Poland saw him play a key role as Gliwice won their first ever League title. He netted six goals in 33 games, winning the Ekstraklasa and Polish Union of Footballers Player of the Year awards and earning a place in the Polish Union of Footballers Team of the Year.
He made his Brentford debut against Cambridge United in the First Round of the EFL Cup with his Sky Bet Championship bow coming at the end of August against Derby County. An injury picked up on his first start against Wigan Athletic in November kept him out until Christmas, but he returned to make a further eight substitute appearances pre-lockdown. The Spanish youth international netted his first Brentford goal with a stunning long-range effort against Reading in June. His 23rd and final appearance of the campaign came in our Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg against Swansea City.
Brentford FC Head Coach, Thomas Frank, said: “We think it is the right decision to send Joel out on loan to play matches and show his quality more than he had the chance to do with us. That will be very important for Joel and for us too, as it was with Emiliano Marcondes in the first half of last year. We wish Joel the best of luck in Poland.”
Joel moved to Spain from Ecuador as a child and came through at Zaragoza. He made his professional debut against Real Madrid in August 2011, aged 16. He spent much of the next three years with Zaragoza B before joining Logroñés in August 2014. In 18-months with UDL he made 54 appearances, scoring once, before moving to Koper in Slovenia. A year-and-a-half spell in the Slovenia top flight followed before he made his move to Gliwice in the summer of 2017.
Legia have begun their season with two wins from three and currently sit in fourth, three points off top spot.