Premier League • England

Brighton using ‘good relations’ to snatch £20m Leeds, Newcastle target

Ben Brereton Diaz Blackburn

Brighton are close to signing a Leeds and Newcastle striker target for £20million, according to the latest reports.

The Seagulls continue to struggle in front of goal, even though their build up play is often impressive. They have managed to find the net just 14 times in their 15 Premier League outings this campaign.

French centre-forward Neal Maupay is their focal point in attack. His late goals against West Ham and Southampton have given Brighton two points in recent weeks.

But the 25-year-old should have more than six strikes to his name. He has missed a number of gilt-edged chances during Brighton’s frustrating displays this year.

Graham Potter has clearly spoken with the club’s board about potential reinforcements as they are in the frame for an impressive capture.

The Mirror report that Brighton are edging closer to the signing of Ben Brereton Diaz from Blackburn.

The 22-year-old striker has been a Leeds target for some time now. Newcastle joined the transfer race shortly after their Saudi Arabian-backed takeover.

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But it is Potter’s men who are in pole position to sign the star. They will reportedly pay £20m for him as soon as the January window opens.

Brighton’s pursuit has been aided by their good relations with Blackburn. Youngsters Reda Khadra and Jan Paul van Hecke have been sent from the south coast to Ewood Park on loan this season.

The pre-existing relationship between the two clubs means Rovers are willing to let Brereton Diaz move on.

He is now a cult hero in Chile after making his debut for the South American nation in June. Brereton Diaz’s international record now stands at three goals from nine caps.

Blackburn boss has questions over Brighton deal

Brereton Diaz’s contract expires in June. Blackburn have the option to extend it by a further year, but it looks like they may sell him instead.

Rovers boss Tony Mowbray admits there is uncertainty over the attacker’s future, as well as some reservations about the deal.

He said recently: “If Brereton goes, the first question in my mind is how much of the money are we getting? Or are we not seeing any of it?

“I’d like to think we can give Ben a new contract because I believe the best way to leave the club would be if someone offers an amount of money that would just be stupid to turn down – and we could buy three £5m players on the back of it, and then give yourselves a real chance and expectation to get promotion.”

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