The recent acquisition of Ben Brereton-Diaz on loan has sparked optimism that the former Blackburn Rovers player can contribute with goals to help lift Sheffield United out of their current predicament.
Prior to the summer of 2021, Brereton-Diaz faced challenges in finding his form in east Lancashire. Despite being consistently industrious, his finishing was inconsistent, and he lacked the instinct of a poacher to be precisely where needed when the ball flashes into the box.
However, a turning point occurred when he was selected by Chile, owing to his mother’s nationality, for the Copa America. Adopting Diaz as part of his surname, he experienced a transformation and swiftly became a cult hero.
During that competition, he notched two goals, returning to England in splendid form. Brereton-Diaz went on a goal-scoring spree, reaching a total of 20 goals before the conclusion of 2021, contributing significantly as Blackburn Rovers contended with Fulham and Bournemouth for automatic promotion.
Regrettably, his momentum waned after Christmas, mirroring a downturn in his team’s performance. He managed only two goals in 14 fixtures, and his progress was further impeded by injury.
The narrative echoed in the following season, with a promising start gradually losing momentum after the World Cup. Brereton Diaz managed just three goals in 22 Championship games, with a late resurgence on the final day yielding two goals.
This is a player who shines exceptionally when in top form, showcasing brilliance. However, during less prolific phases, he tends to function as a hardworking left winger with limited threat. Following half a season on the sidelines at Villarreal, he returns to England to Sheffield United with a clear determination to prove himself.
Like I wrote in my Ben Brereton-Diaz analysis piece, I expect the Chilean to be deployed on the left, because he has always been a lost cause in the central striker role. Against Gillingham in the FA Cup that’s where he played too.
He is very one dimensional, he will hug the touchline and look to cut inside constantly on his right foot. He doesn’t possess skill, so he is reliant on his raw speed of dribbling to get past his marker. If the opposition double up on him and cut off the inside route, he will be frozen out of the game.
This is a player that will boom or bust, with him there is no in-between. I personally don’t think he will have the desired impact many Blades think he will have. But, I hope I am proven wrong.