According to Alan Nixon at The Sun, West Ham have stepped up their pursuit of Blackburn hotshot Ben Brereton-Diaz, but will have to beat Sevilla to his signiture.
The Chilean marksman finished joint 3rd in the championship top scorers in a season in which his manager Tony Mowbray has called him ‘extraordinary’.
The Stoke native made news last year after his switch to represent his Mother’s native Chile rather than England. In the subsequent Copa America, the 23-year-old managed to bag a goal in the group stages before Chile were knocked out by eventual finalists Brazil in the quarter-final.
There have been plenty of rumours around a move to the Premier League for the Blackburn striker with both Brighton and Leeds expressing an interest in Brereton-Diaz. It seems, however, that the Hammers have now moved into pole position.
What would Brereton-Diaz bring to West Ham?
Support first and foremost. For the majority of this season, West Ham have relied solely upon Michail Antonio as a focal point.
Both Bowen and Nikola Vlasic have attempted to deputize at times but their natural positional instincts always made West Ham’s attacks look disjointed.
Blackburn similarly, have struggled this season when Diaz has not been around.
Former Blackburn player Andy Hinchcliffe noted as much on the EFL podcast:
“If you look at the season they’ve had and Ben Brereton Diaz, they are not exactly a one-man team but you look at those 19 games that they’ve played in 2022, Brereton Diaz has only been involved in 10 of them.”
“So that the problem is when you’ve got someone who is scoring goals as regularly as he is and he’s missing, it’s not just he’s missing the goals, the team psychologically feel that if he’s not playing and not around, how are we going to score as we always rely on him and that is the major problem.”
Brereton’s talismanic qualities cannot be understated and they would offer West Ham 2 dimensions that have been sorely lacking from Michail Antonio. Clincicality and consistency.
Though Antonio is obviously in a higher league he has scored only one goal in the league since December, underperforming his xg in contrast to Brereton’s overperformance in the Championship.
Is the deal likely?
It wouldn’t be the first time West Ham have looked to the Championship. They snapped up star man Jarrod Bowen for over £20 million from Hull 2 years ago and he has gone from strength to strength since.
There is value in the lower leagues and at the £15 million quoted by the Sun, Brereton-Diaz would be a steal.
The Sun say David Moyes admires Brereton-Diaz’s versatility as well which will likely come in handy if West Ham once again qualify for European competition this season.
Brereton-Diaz is said to favour a move abroad. The main European contenders for the Chilean’s signature? West Ham’s vanquished Europa League foes Sevilla.
West Ham will hope this past victory will count for something in their attempts to convince the Blackburn man to swap Lancashire for London.
If they can secure his signature, he could have the same effect Jarrod Bowen did when he made the step up to the Premier League. The East Londoners will hope so at least.