Steven Gerrard joins suitors for £20m Championship hotshot as Villa look to address early-season woes

Ben Brereton Diaz Blackburn Rovers 2022 TEAMtalk1

Aston Villa have reportedly joined the growing list of clubs keen to sign Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton-Diaz this summer.

The 23-year-old flew onto the radar of several clubs following an outstanding 2021-2022. The Chile international bagged 22 Championship goals for Rovers and already has four for the South American nation. Leeds United, Wolves, Southampton, West Ham and Brighton have all been linked.

However, it is Everton who seem to have jumped to the front of the queue for his signature. Frank Lampard’s side have struggled in the fledgling Premier League campaign, scoring just three goals from four games.

They sit 18th in the table and the manager seems determined to do something about it. But Villa have now entered the picture, according to Sun journalist Alan Nixon.

He claims that the West Midlanders are now in a “queue” with many other top-flight clubs. Like Everton, the Villans have also endured a tough start to the campaign.

Steven Gerrard’s side are 15th with a solitary win to their name. And they have also found the net on just three occasions.

The pressure is mounting on former England skipper Gerrard and he needs reinforcements at Villa Park.

With that in mind, it would be no surprise if they tried to lure the former Nottingham Forest hitman to the club before the window shuts.

Brereton-Diaz eyes new challenge

Brereton-Diaz had shown few signs of being a prolific marksman before last season. Nine goals for Forest and the same number for the Ewood Park outfit suggested he was never going to get anywhere near 20.

But the former England Under-20 star took his game to a new level last term. It is no surprise that manager Jon Dahl Tomasson wants to keep him with the north-west club.

But, due to fall out of contract in June next year, the Stoke-born ace has shown no signs of wanting to extend his stay.

He has reportedly told club officials that he sees his future elsewhere, prompting the Premier League clubs to take note.

A fee of £20m has been mooted for his signature and Aston Villa would certainly be able to afford that figure. They have forked out £28m on Diego Carlos only to see the defender out to a long-term injury.

Philippe Coutinho penned permanent terms but there is a sense that there is business still to be done. Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins provide Gerrard with his firepower but the duo could do with back-up.

Brereton-Diaz has scored two of Rovers six second-tier goals in 2022-2023, helping the side to ninth in the standings. But it may be that his sights are already focused elsewhere, with so much attention on him at present.

The boos heard at Villa Park following Sunday’s 1-0 reverse to West Ham were worrying for Gerrard and his staff. Landing a proven goalscorer seems a must and Brereton-Diaz appears to fit the bill.

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