Everton fringe player could be Blackburn Rovers’ ideal Ben Brereton Diaz replacement: Opinion | OneFootball

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Football League World

·8 June 2023

Everton fringe player could be Blackburn Rovers’ ideal Ben Brereton Diaz replacement: Opinion

Article image:Everton fringe player could be Blackburn Rovers’ ideal Ben Brereton Diaz replacement: Opinion

Ben Brereton Diaz is set to depart Blackburn Rovers for Spanish outfit Villarreal when his contract expires at the end of June - leaving a huge void up front for the Ewood Park outfit in terms of next season's promotion push.

The Stoke-born star joined Rovers in the summer of 2018 from Nottingham Forest, in what was considered a real coup for Tony Mowbray's men as he had burst onto the scene at the City Ground. A reported £6million deal for a forward with bags of potential was quite the capture in east Lancashire - even if it took Diaz a while to get going.

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Just nine goals in his first 80 league games saw him as a bit-part player to begin with, before the 2021-22 season captured his breakthrough. An outstanding 22 goals in 37 Championship games garnered interest from the top leagues, and with just one year left on his deal, it was thought that Rovers would cash in on his immense form.

But the Venky's failed to do so, instead going all-in on promotion in the season just gone. And, with Villarreal capturing the Chile international on a free transfer after Rovers missed out, it has left a huge void up front. As such, the Ewood Park side should target Everton outcast Ellis Simms.

Why should Blackburn sign Ellis Simms?

The answer is quite simple really - Simms has scored goals at every level he's played at.

He's already been away from Goodison Park on three loan spells, bagging 10 in 24 whilst on loan at Blackpool, seven goals in 24 appearances at Scottish side Hearts, and most recently seven goals in just 17 games at Championship play-off side Sunderland.

Ellis Simms enjoyed a loan spell at Sunderland last season

His spell on Wearside was by far his most impressive so far, having made the jump to the second-tier with ease, especially having never played there before.

That in itself tells you all you need to know about Simms; he's a natural goalscorer, and having already fit into a side that plays similar football to Blackburn, he would have no qualms over fitting in.

And, to add to the list of reasons, Diaz's departure means that there is almost guaranteed game time for the Oldham-born star to grasp with both hands - feeding off the creativity of Sammie Szmodics would go hand-in-hand.

Would Everton sell Ellis Simms?

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Neal Maupay ahead of him in the pecking order, Simms found game time hard to come by at Everton after being recalled from his loan spell with Sunderland early. He did score a last-minute equaliser against Chelsea, but from then on it was slim pickings for the 21-year-old.

Simms made just two starts - away at Manchester United and Liverpool, just to add to the difficulty of his spell - and for a player who will now demand game time to aid his development, that is simply not enough.

Furthermore, the Toffees have been linked with attacking talents already, with reports claiming that they must strengthen their front-line with top quality stars to aid competition for Calvert-Lewin.

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