Leeds United remain keen on a deal for Ben Brereton Diaz in 2023 – but their hopes of securing a deal appear to be fading amid claims of three other sides’ interest in the Blackburn attacker.
The Whites remain in the market for attacking reinforcements in the new year, having seen their options limited once again this season. Patrick Bamford remains stop-start as he builds up his fitness, while Rodrigo faces time on the sidelines with a disclocated shoulder.
Victor Orta tried to bolster their options by a late approach for Cody Gakpo; a bid that ultimately failed. However, they remain keen on the Netherlands winger with PSV chief Marcel Brands revealing exactly how his signing can be achieved.
Leeds, in the end, decided to bring forward a deal to sign exciting Italy striker Wilfried Gnonto. However, at just 18 years of age, he may take time to bed in.
And with Joe Gelhardt and Sonny Perkins also on the scene, Leeds are well covered in the years to come.
However, their here and now looks slightly more precarious, hence the search for alternative signings.
And with Rodrigo’s deal expiring in 2024 and unlikely to be renewed, the prospect of his exit next summer is seemingly increasingly.
One of those that has come under the spotlight for Leeds is Brereton Diaz. The Chile striker has made his name on the international scene with the South American side.
Furthermore, he has an excellent goals record for Blackburn in the Championship, with 36 goals in 84 starts for Rovers.
And with a contract due to expire in June, Brereton Diaz remains a highly attractive proposition.
Indeed, the Daily Mail writes that Leeds remain keen on his signing next year.
Leeds transfer stance on Ben Brereton Diaz revealed
However, the paper claims that rather than making a cash bid for Brereton Diaz in January, they would take him on a free transfer next summer.
That would seemingly be as a like-for-like replacement for Rodrigo were the Spaniard to return to LaLiga.
However, by trying to sign him as a free agent, Leeds will, technically speaking, not be allowed to approach the player until that contract expires.
And with Brereton Diaz able to sign a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club from January 1, the paper writes that three LaLiga sides are looking to beat Leeds to the punch.
Indeed, all of Celta Vigo, Villarreal and Valencia all hold an advantage over Leeds in that regard.
And the paper claims all three sides are planning to watch Brereton Diaz in action when Chile tackle Morocco in a friendly. That game, scheduled for Friday evening, takes place at Espanyol’s RCDE Stadium.
The match offers Brereton Diaz the perfect opportunity to stake his claim in front of their scouts. And should he impress, it will likely increase the competition for the Blackburn striker.
Blackburn likely to rule out January sale of star
And while Brereton Diaz remains a focal point of their side, they’re unlikely to entertain his sale in January. They value the striker at around the £25m – £30m mark. Realistically, and given his contract situation, they could perhaps ask a maximum of £15m for him in January.
But with Rovers pushing for promotion, it would be a greater risk for them to cash in. Indeed, Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side are currently seventh, with five wins and five defeats from 10 games played.
And they’ll hope by keeping Brereton Diaz, they are maximising their chances of securing promotion.
Taking his goals out their side at that stage of the season would be a huge loss. And it seems that is a gamble the club’s owners are unwilling to take.
Of the three LaLiga clubs vying for his signature, the Mail suggests Villarreal’s interest may be the most pronounced. They have a track record of taking players from the Championship, with Arnaut Danjuma an obvious example.
Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Ben Brereton Diaz qualifies to play for Chile through his mother.