Brighton edge closer to agreeing £20m deal for Blackburn star Ben Brereton Diaz


EXCLUSIVE: Brighton are set to agree a deal to sign Blackburn Rovers’ in-form striker Ben Brereton Diaz, who has hit 17 goals this season in the Championship

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Brighton and Hove Albion are edging closer to agreeing a deal to sign Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton Diaz when the winter transfer window opens on January 1.

The 22-year-old has scored 17 goals in 21 appearances so far in the Championship, registering one assist along the way, and looks capable of taking the step up to the Premier League in his stride.

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Leeds, Southampton and Newcastle have all been reportedly keeping tabs on the Chile international, but Brighton have made use of their newfound strong links with Rovers to begin talks over a deal for the striker.

Mirror Football understands that Brighton are willing to pay approximately £20million for the striker, whose current deal expires in 2022, although Blackburn have the option to trigger a one-year extension in his contract.

Blackburn Rovers’ Ben Brereton scored his 17th goal of the season last weekend against Preston

Since Graham Potter was appointed as Seagulls boss, the South Coast side have generally struggled to convert the array of chances they have created.

Striker Neal Maupay has been tasked with the role of Brighton’s main goalscorer over the past few seasons. But while the Frenchman is a key pillar in Potter’s patient, possession-based game, the 25-year-old has struggled to find consistency in front of goal.

It goes some way to explaining why Englishman Potter has turned his attention to snapping up a clinical finisher, as they close in on a deal to bring the Blackburn forward to the Amex Stadium in January.

Their pursuit of the highly-rated forward will be music to the ears of the Seagulls supporters, especially considering the nature of his goals.

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BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 20: Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter after the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion at Villa Park on November 20, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus)

All of Brereton Diaz’s 17 goals this season have come from inside the penalty area, a part of the pitch which Brighton have had no issues in getting the ball into of recent – 12 with his right foot, three with his left and two headers.

The Seagulls have loaned their exciting young talents Reda Khadra and Jan Paul van Hecke to the Championship outfit this season as Tony Mowbray’s side aim to return to the English top-flight for the first time since their relegation in 2012.

But the Ewood Park outfit’s bid for promotion will take a hammer blow if Brereton Diaz signs for Brighton, considering he has scored 48 per cent of their goals this season.

Speaking earlier this week, Mowbray asked where the money would be invested if his side were to lose Brereton Diaz in the transfer window, he said: “If Brereton goes, the first question in my mind is how much of the money are we getting? Or are we not seeing any of it?

Ben Brereton has been flourishing alongside Reda Khadra recently, who is on loan from Brighton

“I’d like to think we can give Ben a new contract because I believe the best way to leave the club would be if someone offers an amount of money that would just be stupid to turn down – and we could buy three £5m players on the back of it, and then give yourselves a real chance and expectation to get promotion.”

Brighton firmed up their interest in Brereton Diaz after missing out on Nicolas Gonzalez, who joined Fiorentina, and Benfica striker Darwin Nunez over the summer.

With a deal in the offing, Potter’s side will be reluctant to miss out on potentially the final piece of their puzzle once more when the January transfer window opens.

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