Crystal Palace are reportedly considering a move for Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton Diaz in the January transfer window and the Chilean could be the ideal man to replace Wilfried Zaha’s goals in Patrick Vieira’s side.
Brereton Diaz’s contract at Ewood Park is set to expire at the end of this season which means foreign clubs will be free to approach the Chile international with a pre-contract agreement at the turn of the year, while Palace may be able to bring him to Selhurst Park on a cut-price deal, having been valued at £20m in the summer.
The former Nottingham Forest forward first caught the eye last season with his goals for Blackburn Rovers in the Championship, which propelled him to fame in Chile, for whom he is eligible through his mother.
The Rovers striker would hit an impressive 22 goals in the second tier, averaging a 7.06 rating from WhoScored for his performances so it was perhaps a surprise that he didn’t earn a move to the top tier during the summer.
However, after eight goals in his opening 16 Championship games this season, it seems as if Brereton Diaz is destined for the top, although Blackburn will be desperate to keep him given that they currently sit second in the second tier.
After another goal from the Chilean helped send Blackburn briefly to the top of the Championship in midweek, manager Jon Dahl Tomasson was full of praise for the 23-year-old.
“Ben is a brilliant player. That ability to score goals, we love that, and beautiful goals as well. He’s always a threat. He always gets chances, he works hard for the team as well.”
Should he arrive at Selhurst Park in January, he will no doubt compete with Jean-Philippe Mateta and Odsonne Edouard for a starting role up front, given that the Frenchman have managed just three goals between them in the Premier League so far this season.
However, in the long-term, Brereton Diaz’s goals could see him become the natural replacement for Zaha in Vieira’s side, with the Palace talisman reportedly expected to depart this summer when his contract expires.
Considering the Ivorian has contributed five of Palace’s 11 goals so far this season, it is clear that the Eagles will need a natural goalscorer to replace him when he does leave, and Brereton Diaz – who was once dubbed a “goal machine” by The Sun journalist Alan Nixon, could be the perfect man when you consider his form over the last two seasons.