After a slow start to his season on loan at Southampton, with Saints head coach Ralph Hasenhüttl essentially calling him lazy and complacent, 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja has really started coming into his own. It took him two months to get his first Premier League start, but now he’s started six of Saints’ last nine league games, with three goals and one assist to his name over the last six of those appearances.
The most recent of his goals came last night, in their 4-1 win over Brentford, giving Broja 5 Premier League goals on the season, same as Romelu Lukaku. (Assisted by former Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu, incidentally.)
Broja’s success has prompted Hasenhüttl to quickly change his tune as well, beginning a strong charm offensive for potentially keeping the 20-year-old beyond this season, and not just on another loan either. Southampton recently changed majority owners, from businessman Gao Jisheng to Dragan Solak, head of Sport Republic investments, who was in attendance last night, and Hasenhüttl will be hoping for a welcome gift from his new boss.
“Sure [I will ask Solak and Sport Republic whether it can be done], [Broja] likes it here. He loves it here. It would be great if he was our player, he wants to be with us I think, you can feel this in every moment. The fans love him meanwhile, good.”
-Ralph Hasenhüttl; source: Daily Echo
Defender Jan Bednarek heaped praise on his young teammate recently as well, predicting a bright future for the already senior Albania international.
“He’s a great player, he’s learning very quickly. He had a difficult start to the season where he had to adjust and adapt to the Premier League, it’s a different intensity. But he did it very well and we can see with each game he’s getting better and better and it’s a bright future in front of him.”
-Ján Bednarek; source: Daily Echo
Of course, there’s just the minor matter of Broja’s long-term Chelsea contract, signed over the summer and good through 2026. While our first-team is crowded as ever in his position, hopefully no one’s actually seriously considering allowing him to leave just yet — certainly not without at least a buyback clause.