Leeds United barely survived in the Premier League this season having needed a last-minute winner on the last matchday of the season to finish 17th on the points table. Their top goalscorer in this campaign is Raphinha, with 11 strikes to his name. If the Whites are to perform better next season, they will need an additional goalscorer. One such option is Blackburn Rovers striker, Ben Brereton Díaz. In this article, we will explore what Díaz might bring to the Whites’ attack.
Díaz has enjoyed a highly productive campaign for Blackburn Rovers in the EFL Championship this season, netting 22 goals. Díaz has scored at a rate of 0.59 goals per 90, which ranks him in the top 4%. His xG per 90 stood at 0.47, putting him in the 92nd percentile for this category. The 23-year-old forward has attempted 2.73 shots per 90 and has managed to hit the target on 47.52% of the occasions. Díaz has attempted 5.46 dribbles per 90 with a success rate of nearly 60%.
Given above is the shot map of Díaz for Blackburn Rovers in this season of the EFL Championship. Four of his 22 goals came from the penalty spot. All but two of his 22 goals came from outside the box. Díaz has rarely missed chances that had an xG value of 0.5 or greater. Díaz took 103 shots with a conversion rate of 4.68 shot attempts per goal scored. In addition to his 22 goals, he registered three assists, which means he was involved in a goal every 123 minutes, having played 3066 minutes this season.
Seen in the above visual are the pass sonar, xT timeline and xT map of Díaz for Blackburn Rovers in this season of the EFL Championship. As seen above, threat creation is not his primary strength. Díaz’s main role is to score goals by getting into good positions. The 23-year-old relies on his teammates for chance creation and threat generation. At Blackburn, it was Joe Rothwell and John Buckley who provided him with goal-scoring opportunities. Díaz touched and surpassed 0.5 in xT only on a few occasions.
With 22 goals to his name, Ben Brereton Díaz comfortably topped the goal-scoring chart for Blackburn Rovers this season. In a distant second place is Sam Gallagher, who has only nine to his name. Without Díaz, Blackburn’s promotion playoff challenge may not have lasted until a few games from the end of the season. Moreover, Díaz has international experience, having played 12 times and scored four times for the Chile national team. If Leeds United are to improve on their lowly 17th position next season, they need to improve their attack, and Díaz could be one such option.