Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray has sent a clear message on Leeds United target Ben Brereton’s future with the Lancashire side, which could come as a blow to Marcelo Bielsa’s reported hopes of signing him.
Leeds have been linked with a move for the 22-year-old in recent weeks, with reports suggesting that they have sent scouts to Copa America to watch him play for Chile, for whom he qualifies through his Chilean mother.
The former Nottingham Forest man contributed seven goals and four assists in 40 Championship appearances last season but averaged a solid 6.83 rating from WhoScored for his performances, so he could be a good young back-up to Patrick Bamford in Bielsa’s side next season.
However, Mowbray seems confident that he will remain a Blackburn player, as he spoke in depth about his future at Ewood Park recently, saying:
“I feel that the signs were there last season with Ben. As you could see from the number of appearances he made, he works extremely hard for the team, he has talent, he can dribble off both feet, he’s very positive and he brings a level of physicality with his size.
“I think there are still growth areas for the man to come out even more – to be more physical in confrontation with other players, to stand his ground and be stronger, but I think Ben Brereton, the player that we signed two-and-a-half years ago, is ready to explode on the scene.
“Hopefully he comes back to Blackburn Rovers with confidence of doing well for the Chile national team and having enjoyed the environment of playing against and with such great players.
“He can learn from these top players and from a different coach, a national team coach, and hopefully he brings those qualities back and helps us on the pitch.
“So for us, we’re very happy for Ben. He’s a good human being, an honest hard-working guy and I’m just delighted that he’s enjoying his football and doing well.”
The £4.5m-rated star might well be the man to step up should Adam Armstrong depart this summer after finishing as their top scorer last season, and Mowbray clearly feels that he has the ability to do so.
Unfortunately for Leeds, it seems as if they will have to pay a substantial fee if they want to sign the “fantastic” Brereton this summer as Blackburn clearly want to keep him, which will surely frustrate Leeds fans as they eagerly await the signing of a quality striker to compete with Bamford as that’s one area of the squad that does need addressing over the next few weeks.