The Diaz Dilemma: Keep or Sell?
The career of Ben Brereton Diaz is one unlike others; an ordinary boy born in Stoke who went from nearly not making it in the game to becoming one of the most currently talked about players in Chile, playing for the national team, and featuring on adverts in the South American nation.
The 23-year-old made his professional debut for Nottingham Forest in 2017, scoring 9 goals across 2 seasons, being linked with Liverpool, and Spurs along the way. However, in the summer of 2018 Forest had a spending spree, paying £25 million on 13 players leaving Brereton on the side lines. This is when a £7million loan to buy deal from Blackburn Rovers was accepted for Brereton making him the 5th most expensive signing in Rovers history. A massive move at the time for a club coming up from League One the previous season. Life for Brereton didn’t get off to the best of starts at Blackburn Rovers, with him only scoring twice across 2 seasons; for Blackburn, he looked weak, clumsy and unconfident every time he stepped onto the pitch. Rovers fans thought the club had coughed up £7 million on a flop. This was until the 2020/21 campaign when he improved his game massively that season becoming a regular starter, contributing to 12 goals, looking much more confident than his last two years in blue and white, this led to Brereton being spotted by Chilean natives on the game Football Manager that he was eligible to play for them through his mother, Chileans went mad for Brereton on social media which ended in him earning the national team call up that summer of 2021 becoming Ben Brereton Diaz.
Brereton Diaz's reputation has been high ever since his call-up, attracting plenty of interest from other clubs, which has put Blackburn is a very tricky situation regarding his future at the club, with only one year left on his contract. There is no arguing among Rovers fans about how important Ben Brereton Diaz was to the squad last season; the striker was the club's top scorer netting 22 goals defying the 1000/1 odds on him scoring 20 goals that season. His energy and intelligence in attacking areas is so effective in games and was one of the reasons why Blackburn were in the top six for most of the season; without his goals most people will agree Blackburn would have been nowhere near the top end of the table last season. With not many other senior strikers in the squad and transfer activity currently being non-existent, the main hope is that Diaz stays this season, signing a new contract in the process, this will be unlikely however, with top flight football being Diaz’s main priority to increase his chances of future selection for the Chilean National Team.
The striker has not only been on fire for rovers but for Chile as well, scoring 4 goals so far for La Roja. This type of form has obviously sparked interest with Sevilla, Brighton, Southampton, West Ham and Leeds all been linked with signing the Chilean international. However, Blackburn are not wanting to sell without a big offer; the only official bid made so far has been by Sevilla for £10 million, with Rovers reportedly rejecting the bid. The main factors to Rovers wanting more money are his age and international form. Diaz is only 22 years old and has bags of potential, with the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Keane Lewis-Potter both being sold to top flight clubs in deals worth over £15 million it is no surprise that Blackburn don’t peanuts for the Chilean despite him having only one year left on his contract; it is likely that clubs will put in offers near the end of the summer window to try and panic Rovers into accepting a lower deal.
With a profit needed to be made for Rovers due to key players leaving for nothing this window, it is realistic that if a decent offer is made then Brereton Diaz will sell this window however, it is unknown how the team will perform next season without or what they will do to replace the 22-goal man.