On Wednesday night, Chelsea Twitter was inundated with excitement over a striker’s performance.
Even with Timo Werner’s third goal for Germany during this international break, the performance of 20-year-old Armando Broja made more of an impression.
Broja started his senior international career for Albania in an incredible way. Coming off the bench to score an empathetic late-game winner against Hungary after an impressive solo run with just 12 minutes on the pitch. He then scored once and assisted twice in San Marino’s 5-0 rout on Wednesday night coming off the bench at halftime. The finish was equally emphatic as he received the ball inside a crowded box, carefully cushioned the ball before exerting an effort just below the crossbar.
Following his new contract in July where the 20-year-old signed a five-year contract that keeps him at Stamford Bridge until 2026, Broja secured his second loan away from Chelsea, but the first in the Premier League with Southampton.
There will already be questions about his realistic prospect of returning to the fold in the years to come at his parent club. Romelu Lukaku’s recent record-breaking acquisition for £ 98million would tend to make you find that unlikely anytime soon, even with Broja’s young age. Although the young striker can take inspiration from a former Blue in Tammy Abraham.
Abraham, although he left for Roma this summer, built his reputation as a goalscorer on a string of early-20s loans that struck the right balance between consistent minutes and good quality football.
On loans with Bristol City, Swansea and Aston Villa, Abraham has scored 60 goals in total. Shot two seasons in The Championship where he reached 26 with Bristol and Villa. Sandwiched between his first glimpse of Premier League football with relegated Swansea where he reached 8 overall in the 2017/18 season.
By the time of his return to Chelsea, Abraham had played 129 times over 9,000 minutes of competitive senior football. Even though the situation he returned to at his home club was advantageous with Frank Lampard and Jody Morris at the helm, Abraham had tons of experience to draw on and proof of his talent.
For Broja, staying at Chelsea was not an option worth taking this quarter. After a season with Vitesse in the Eredivisie last season, the Armenian couldn’t see his growing momentum slow down by months of biting his nails while waiting for the brief appearance on the bench, or in the League’s opening rounds or of the FA Cup.
For attackers, traps, misfires, sterile leads, physical scars, and confidence hits are all part of the growth phase. Broja will have it this season with Southampton. He may not quite have hit the 40 mark he would have had in the league, but it’s an exciting start with a manager who has little problem throwing young players into the deep end. . As demonstrated above all by Valentino Livramento, who, after leaving Chelsea, became an instant holder to the right of the Austrian defense.
The season started well for Broja, scoring her first two goals for the Saints in the 8-0 demolition at Newport in the second round of the Carabao Cup. He made his first Premier League appearance off the bench in Southampton’s 2-2 draw against Newcastle which will hopefully bring him closer to Ralph Hasenhüttl’s first team in the weeks to come.
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Hasenhüttl is full of praise for the progress of the loan, saying recently in an interview with Hampshire Live: “When he develops he will have all the qualities that can help us for sure. He can finish, he’s fast. He has to work hard to have a chance to play. I’m sure he will have that chance. “
It is likely he will, and supporters will follow his journey to the end. It is impossible to predict the variables that will determine what Chelsea Broja will find when he returns next summer. It is likely that there will be room for another loan, especially after securing it to such a long term deal to secure its future. This is a good thing after such a summer exodus of such promising talent.
But while there is no path for Armando Broja given the constant demand for ready-made players in the first team, Abraham has also proven that you can impress at Chelsea with limited minutes and then plot your own way elsewhere to get the odds you demand.
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