Ben Brereton-Diaz: what could he bring to Sheffield United?

Ben Brereton-Diaz, the 24-year-old Chile international, made a move to Villarreal in La Liga last summer after departing Blackburn as a free agent. However, he has encountered challenges in establishing a significant impact at his new club, and now it appears he is on his way to Sheffield United on a temporary basis.

The potential acquisition of Brereton-Diaz by Sheffield United could trigger the loan departure of forward Benie Traore to Nantes.

Despite making 19 appearances for Villarreal since his move, the forward has struggled to find the back of the net and has only been named in the starting lineup for two games in the Spanish top-flight this season.

There was an exclusive from HITC which stated the Blades were also attempting to sign Sunderland winger Jack Clarke, but these claims are simply not true.

Ben Brereton-Diaz Analysis

Originally playing as central striker, Brereton-Diaz struggled to find his rhythm, and find the net on a regular basis. That was until Tony Mowbray converted him to a left winger in a 4-3-3 at Blackburn Rovers. The decision to transition to a wider position was a masterstroke, and that was when the Chilean began to bang goals in for fun.

The 2021/22 campaign was the first full season as a converted left winger, and it comes to no surprise that is the best scoring season for him, smashing in 22 goals in 37 appearances.

Playing Style

Ben Brereton’s playing style is well-suited for situations where he can cut inside from a left wide position and take shots. His ability to make curved runs off the shoulder of defenders and across the defensive line makes it challenging for opponents to track his movement.

As you can see from his heatmap above [from 2022/23] he operates from the left and looks to engage the right back and right centre-back of the opposition. This is where Chris Wilder will also likely utilise him. We have seen Cameron Archer in a similar position since the return of Wilder.

In the image above, you can see Brereton-Diaz playing tight to the touchline opening himself out to receive the ball. Now from this point, as a right footer, he has options. He can play the pass into the pocket and continue his run to the edge of the box and look for the return pass. He can carry the ball around the corner, using his full-back’s run as a screen, and then look to unleash a shot. Or he can hold it and try to slip in his full-back.

On this occasion, the Chilean international plays the pass inside and carries on his run. Eventually the ball breaks to him on the edge of the box and he uses the inside of his right foot to curl it home.


A big part of Brereton-Diaz’s game is built around his ability to carry the ball. And compared to his positional peers in Men’s Big 5 Leagues, UCL and UEL, Brereton-Diaz ranks in the 93rd percentile for progressive carries (2.77). In addition, he ranks in the 94th percentile for successful take-ons per 90 – averaging just over 2 per 90.

To add, he also ranks in the 98th percentile for progressive passes received (10.33).

It seems obvious that the Blades have a clear plan with this signing: they know the 24-year-old is explosive and his best attributes make him more of a counterattack threat than anything else, which fits into our 4-3-3 system.


As stated above, since moving to Villarreal he has not yet scored. In terms of non-penalty xG he ranks in the bottom percentile, and his touches in attacking penalty area is a low tally for a forward (less than five per 90), which certainly reflects on his xG numbers. As a result, it is no wonder why he hasn’t scored.

Also, for someone at 6ft his aerial threat is pretty much non-existent, winning less than 17% of his duels in the air, ranking him in the bottom percentile for this metric.

(All stats taken from FBref)
Tags Analysis Ben Brereton-Diaz