The football food chain is one of the most prominent parts of the transfer window. Whenever a standout player emerges from one of the lesser clubs, it becomes inevitable that they'll leave for new pastures. Even title-winning Leicester City couldn't stop N'Golo Kante from being poached by mid-table Chelsea. It's the circle of life, and it moves us all.
When it comes to clubs lower down the food chain, there are few better at making a profit than Brentford. Every transfer window, Bees fans see their biggest stars sold on for huge money, and yet somehow seem to improve with every passing season, most recently finishing in third place before play-off final heartbreak.
This summer, the west Londoners once again received huge fees for their most prized assets. Top scorer Ollie Watkins made the switch to Aston Villa, while Said Benrahma...well, he's moved on loan for now, but there's an obligation for West Ham to pay a seriously hefty fee at the end of the season if his body holds up.
After exiting Griffin Park, some went on to shine at their new clubs; others realised that the grass wasn't greener on the other side. Here is every Brentford player sold for at least £2m over the last five years. And no, Benrahma doesn't count...yet.
1. Moses Odubajo (August 2015)
Transferred To: Hull City (£3.5m)
The right-back spent just one season at the Bees before being sold on for a £2.5m profit to Hull City.
Under Steve Bruce, Odubajo was a key part of the side that won the play-offs in 2016. However, a series of knee injuries kept him out of action for the next two seasons, and he returned to Brentford on a free in 2018.
2. Andre Gray (August 2015)
Transferred To: Burnley (£6m)
Arriving from non-league Luton Town in 2014, Andre Gray enjoyed one season at Griffin Park before being snapped up by recently relegated Burnley for a then-club record fee.
The forward had an instant impact, as his Golden Boot-winning 23 goals fired the Clarets back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
After netting nine goals in his first top flight season, he was sold to Watford for a massive profit.
3. James Tarkowski (February 2016)
Transferred To: Burnley (£3.5m)
Satisfied with their earlier purchase, Burnley returned to raid Brentford once again, this time bringing James Tarkowski to Turf Moor.
The Englishman has become a fine centre-back under Sean Dyche, earning himself two England caps and becoming the subject of £30m+ bids from other Premier League sides.
4. David Button (July 2016)
Transferred To: Fulham (£2m)
Goalkeeper David Button made the switch to west London rivals Fulham ahead of the 2016/17 season. He spent two years at the Whites, and despite losing his place to Marcus Bettinelli in his second year, he was sold to Brighton for an estimated £4m.
5. Scott Hogan (January 2017)
Transferred To: Aston Villa (£12m)
Following his electrifying start to the 2016/17 campaign, Scott Hogan was purchased by Aston Villa in an attempt to push for promotion.
Unfortunately, the Republic of Ireland international was a complete flop, finding the net just seven times in 56 league appearances for the Villans before exiting for bitter rivals Birmingham City for a huge loss.
6. Harlee Dean (August 2017)
Transferred To: Birmingham City (£2m)
Harlee Dean was one of three Brentford players to make the move to St. Andrews in the summer of 2017...but more on the others later.
Since then, Dean has become a regular in a fairly below-par Birmingham side, recently signing a new four-year contract.
7. Jota (August 2017)
Transferred To: Birmingham City (£6m)
Jota was one of the standouts of Mark Warburton's Bees side that made it into the play-offs in 2015. Two years later, he was snapped up by Harry Redknapp's Blues.
His time at St. Andrews was quite inconsistent, but manager Garry Monk managed to get some promising performances out of the Spaniard before he was sold to local rivals Aston Villa.
8. Maxime Colin
Transferred To: Birmingham City (£3m)
Completing the trio of fairly average moves to Birmingham City is French full-back Maxime Colin. Much like Dean, Colin has been an almost ever-present in an unspectacular Blues side.
9. Lasse Vibe (February 2018)
Transferred To: Changchun Yatai (£2m)
Danish forward Lasse Vibe made the switch to China midway through the 2017/18 season, and he probably regrets it very deeply. He found the net just once for his new side and suffered relegation to the second tier of Chinese football, before being let go on a free transfer.
10. John Egan (July 2018)
Transferred To: Sheffield United (£4m)
Republic of Ireland international John Egan has enjoyed an impressive spell at Bramall Lane, achieving promotion in his first term, and then featuring 36 times in the strongest defence outside of the Premier League's top three.
11. Florian Jozefzoon (July 2018)
Transferred To: Derby County (£2.75m)
Since arriving at Pride Park in 2018, Dutch winger Florian Jozefzoon has struggled to make an impact, appearing off the bench more often than in the starting lineup.
12. Ryan Woods (August 2018)
Transferred To: Stoke City (£6m)
English midfielder Ryan Woods featured heavily when Gary Rowett was in charge at the Britannia. However, during the reins of Nathan Jones and Michael O'Neill, Woods found himself out of favour, and has since gone on loan to Millwall.
13. Chris Mepham (January 2019)
Transferred To: Bournemouth (£12m)
The Welshman hasn't had the most ideal time on the south coast so far. A knee injury kept him out of action for significant parts of last season, and he has kept just five clean sheets from the 29 league games he has featured in for the Cherries.
However, he is still just 22 years old, so he could end up being a shrewd long-term signing.
14. Nico Yennaris (January 2019)
Transferred To: Beijing Guoan (£5.5m)
After making 157 appearances for the Bees, former Arsenal youngster Nico Yennaris transferred over to China, where he became the first naturalised player to be called up to the Chinese national team. He has made 36 CSL appearances, scoring twice.
15. Ezri Konsa (July 2019)
Transferred To: Aston Villa (£12m)
England youth international Ezri Konsa earned a move to the top flight last summer, partnering Tyrone Mings at the heart of Aston Villa's defence.
The 22-year-old netted a vital goal in the Villans' survival bid against Everton back in July, and followed that up with the winner on the opening day against Sheffield United in September.
16. Romaine Sawyers (July 2019)
Transferred To: West Bromwich Albion (£2.9m)
After being released by the Baggies as a youngster in 2013, Romaine Sawyers returned to the Hawthorns six years later.
It was a highly successful homecoming: West Brom achieved automatic promotion, and Sawyers was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.
17. Neal Maupay (August 2019)
Transferred To: Brighton and Hove Albion (£20m)
After netting a superb 28 goals in the 2018/19 season, French striker Neal Maupay earned a big money transfer to the top flight, joining Graham Potter's Brighton.
He ended his first term at the AMEX as the club's top scorer, and began the new season with four goals in his first four.
18. Ollie Watkins (September 2020)
Transferred To: Aston Villa (£28m)
Former Exeter man Ollie Watkins was magnificent for Brentford last year, scoring 25 goals and winning the Championship Player of the Year award. This form prompted Dean Smith to raid his former side, forking out a club-record fee for the attacker.
The Englishman has made just three appearances at the time of writing, so it's difficult to give him a score just yet. However, a first-half hat-trick against champions Liverpool has set him well on his way to becoming a lethal top flight striker.