Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray insists that the Championship club will resist any bids for Ben Brereton Diaz in the January transfer window.
The Chile international became the 24th Rovers player to hit 20 goals in a single season when he notched the winner against Barnsley on Wednesday night. He is also the quickest to achieve that feat since club legend Alan Shearer in 1994-95.
Mowbray feels the 22-year-old has now shed the price-tag pressure following his £6million switch from Nottingham Forest back in 2018.
The Rovers chief also hinted that he will move for some younger strikers in the January window. However, that will not be at the expense of Leeds and West Ham target Brereton Diaz.
Mowbray said: “If Ben Brereton wasn’t scoring Danny Graham was scoring and Bradley Dack was scoring. He wasn’t being suppressed because they are good players in their own right.
“As you can see you shed some skin off and he has to grow. That’s why I kept saying to the owners, the day Brereton gets sold someone will fill the void.
“Let’s hope Sam Gallagher becomes a 30-goal centre forward. He has rarely been asked to play the position that gets him in the position to score goals.
Keeping Brereton Diaz could be tough
“When we decide ‘the king is dead, long live the king’, I’m not saying that it will happen but he’ll have the opportunity.
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“I’m hoping in this window we bring some young strikers in to the football club they will have to watch and understand how we expect them to play and one of them might grow into a top player as well.”
However, Mowbray was quick to add that he sees Brereton Diaz remaining at Ewood for the time being: “I need to clarify, we’re not looking to sell Ben Brereton, we need him to hopefully get 40 goals and help the team be successful this year.”
Bielsa talks injuries and transfers
Meanwhile, Marcelo Bielsa admits Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper are likely to be sidelined now until March – and provided a small update on Leeds United’s plans for the January window.
Leeds have struggled during their second season back in the Premier League, winning just three of their 18 matches played. Indeed, their last three games resulted in defeats – the first time under Bielsa’s management – as injuries and illnesses got the better of the Whites.
Two of their biggest players in Phillips and Cooper recently sustained hamstring injuries against Brentford. The initial prognosis was that both were likely to be absent for two months.
However, Bielsa now concedes that a March return looks more likely.
The boss was also questioned how Leeds’ plans are effected by injuries ahead of the January window.
“We’ve been recovering players, even if Kalvin Phillips and [Liam] Cooper will return in March,” he said. [Charlie] Cresswell and [Jamie] Shackleton will return towards the end of January, so the number of players we have will soon increase.
“We will see where we are during January. We may take advantange during January if the right player comes up.”