Sheffield United’s recent acquisition, Ben Brereton-Diaz, shared insights into the conversation he had with manager Chris Wilder, which ultimately facilitated his loan transfer from Villarreal until the end of the current season.
The 24-year-old, who recently joined the Blades, marks Wilder’s inaugural signing since his return to lead his boyhood team in December. Notably, Brereton Diaz had previously made a free transfer to Villarreal from Blackburn Rovers in July of the previous year.
Brereton Diaz’s departure from Villarreal’s Estadio de la Ceramica comes after a brief six-month stint, characterised by challenges in securing a regular spot in the team. Despite making 14 appearances in La Liga, he started only two matches and accumulated a total playing time of 259 minutes. Notably, the striker was unable to find the back of the net in any of his outings in Spain’s top-flight league.
Since making the move to Villarreal as a free agent, Brereton-Diaz participated in a total of 20 matches across various competitions. However, despite his previous success as one of the top goalscorers in the Championship with Blackburn, where he scored 14 goals in 43 games during the 2022/23 season, the striker faced difficulty replicating that form in Spain. He failed to score any goals or provide assists during his time at Villarreal.
But the Chilean international has come back to England to try and get his career back on track, and he revealed in his first interview with the club that Chris Wilder sold the club’s philosophy.
“I spoke to Chris on the phone and he was telling me about what the team stands for – hard work, desire and things like that.”
I’ve seen many fans complaining about this signing, and I do understand some of their points. Some comments are about the planning for the future, because Brereton-Diaz is only a loan with no option to buy. However, if he does well, there’s every chance Sheffield United make him a permanent move in the summer.
We’re talking about a La Liga side, people don’t understand how tender the financial situations are in Spanish football.
But in terms of the footballing aspect of this move, I can’t say that I’m overly excited about this. In a brief description I would describe Ben Brereton-Diaz as a one dimensional player, but an explosive one at that.
He can’t really play in a central striker role because that’s not what his game is suited to. He lacks the strength to compete physically, and even though he is over 6ft he’s a small 6ft player. In other words, he is pretty much useless in the air.
The only real role that gets the best out of him is the inside forward position on the left. He doesn’t possess great crossing or skill but he makes up for that in sheer quickness of his dribbling and a venomous shot if it is on his right foot.
With the FA Cup action on Saturday, I think we’ll see a bit of him, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he scores on his debut.