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Ben Brereton-Diaz profiled as Villarreal lead transfer race for Blackburn Rovers star

The attacker may join in the summer

Norwich City v Blackburn Rovers: Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton-Diaz has been linked with a move to Villarreal, with his contract set to expire in the summer.

The 23-year-old may sign a pre-contract, and there is speculation that Villarreal could even strike a deal with his club to bring him to the club now, although he has previously stated his desire to finish the season at his club to try and help them reach the promotion playoffs.

With Nicolas Jackson and Arnaut Danjuma seemingly close to the exit door, attacking reinforcements are urgently needed at the club, hence the potential desire to bring him in during the January window.

The English-born Chile international has proven himself to be a ruthless goalscorer over the last two seasons, albeit in the English second division, but these were the same kind of questions posed a year ago when Danjuma joined from Bournemouth.

With 14 goal and assist contributions in 30 appearances this campaign, to add to his 25 in 39 last campaign, he is a forward who can provide a lot in terms of output, and has also been linked with a few Premier League clubs including Everton.

Typically a centre-forward who can also play on the left, it seems that his profile will be a direct replacement for Danjuma, although at 1.85m, he provides more of a physical presence than the Dutchman.

Despite his size, his mobility helps him notch up goals, as a number of his strikes have come from his off-ball movement into the box, and he has also shown strong ability in linking play.

If Villarreal continue with a 4-3-3 formation as seen under Quique Setien so far, he could form a deadly strikeforce with Gerard Moreno. Having two clinical strikers who can link play around the box, as well as working hard off the ball, would provide serious firepower upfront.

Aged 23, he has plenty of time to develop his game, yet would also arrive as a forward with 41 goals and 16 assists for his club, a far cry from the rawness of Nicolas Jackson.

His versatility could see him line up on the left with Gerard through the middle, and potentially Yeremy Pino or Samuel Chukwueze wide, or he could start as a centre-forward, which is where he played the majority of his games last season.

Blackburn Rovers v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
The Chile international could be headed for Castellon
Photo by Mick Walker - CameraSport via Getty Images

His strong aerial ability could also be useful, in both attacking and defensive set-pieces, and could also play a similar role to the one Carlos Bacca played during his final season at the club, where he helped create space upfront using his physical traits, allowing Gerard to score more with ease.

The Chilean has also scored four times in 17 appearances for his country, since declaring for them in 2021.

He is held in high regard by fans of his club, and is also seen as one of the best attackers in the Championship, so given the heavy speculation surrounding his future, securing his signature on a free transfer could be a very shrewd piece of business for Villarreal.