Following their promotion from League One at the end of the 2017/18 season, Blackburn Rovers were always going to have to their strengthen their squad for their return to the Championship for the new campaign.
That is something the club certainly did, with no fewer than seven new senior players joining the club during the course of the 2018 summer transfer window.
Arguably the highest profile of those arrivals, and certainly the most expensive, was Ben Brereton, who completed a loan move to the Ewood Park with the obligation to buy for a reported £7million from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest in late August 2018.
With Brereton having previously won the Under 19 Euros with England, and shown plenty of promise during his time at Forest, plenty of Rovers fans were excited by the signing of the then 19-year-old.
Here, we take a look at what some of those Blackburn supporters had to say on Twitter about the signing of the striker, when the deal was first announced.
— 𝕄𝕠𝕠𝕟 (@thegamerMOON) August 28, 2018
Love this. Young, hungry and classy player 😍 #InMowbrayWeTrust
— Danny Woodworth (@dannybrfc87) August 28, 2018
Great signing! Quality player, can’t wait to see what he can do played as an out and out striker with quality service behind
— Chris (@CHRiS000000087) August 28, 2018
Fantastic signing!! What a team Mowbs is building 🔵⚪️🔵⚪️
— David Foxen (@SAMBeastDavid) August 28, 2018
Well done all involved in getting this deal done #rovers
— Dougie (@DougieMount) August 28, 2018
— Talis John (@terrencetalis) August 29, 2018
Despite that initial excitement, it would take a long time for Brereton to get going in a Blackburn shirt.
Throughout the course of his debut campaign with Rovers, the striker missed a string of big chances to get off the mark for his club, leading to some frustration from the Ewood Park faithful.
Eventually, Brereton would get his first Blackburn goal late in his debut season for the club, scoring in a 2-0 win over already relegated Bolton in April 2019.
That however, would not be the catalyst to kick-start Brereton’s Blackburn career. Instead, his second season with the club would be just as frustrating as the first, with his second goal for the club not coming until the penultimate day of the 2019/20 campaign in a 4-3 win over Reading.
By then however, Brereton was gradually starting to show signs of promise, and that would become much clearer in the 2020/21 campaign, when the striker started to come of age, and really win round the Blackburn faithful.
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Seven goals and four assists that season was by far his most successful individual return in a Blackburn shirt, and one that attracted attention not just in England.
Following the end of the 2020/21 season, a comment made by Brereton in a past Rovers programme about his mother being half-Chilean – making him eligible to represent the South American nation – at international level, had become common knowledge, and a great source of discussion, not least in Chile.
As a result, the Stoke-born attacker was handed a call-up by Chile for the 2021 Copa America, where Brereton proved to be a huge success.
Scoring on his first international start – the only goal in a 1-0 Group Stage win in Bolivia – Brereton became a huge sensation in his new home country, which saw him return to Ewood Park seemingly brimming with confidence.
That is something that hasn’t stopped since his return to Lancashire, with Brereton stepping into fill the void of the now-departed Adam Armstrong in spectacular style.
The striker has scored ten goals in 11 league games for Rovers this season – including a first career hat-trick in their 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff – surpassing his goals tally from the past three seasons combined, and putting him joint top of the scoring charts.
Brereton then followed that up earlier this week with a brilliantly taken goal to lead Chile to a crucial World Cup qualifying win over Paraguay, adding yet another chapter to what has been a remarkable story.
But with just a year remaining on his Blackburn contract, and interest inevitably set to emerge given his recent form, there will plenty of Rovers fans desperate to see a new deal agreed with their striker, so that his time at the club is no longer at risk of coming to an end, at a point when things are getting better than anyone could have possibly imagined.