On the surface of it, Armando Broja’s season at Southampton isn’t all that impressive, with just 6 goals in 32 Premier League appearances (21 starts) to his name, plus another 3 in 6 in the cups. His minutes-per-goal is a sizable 330, which puts him on par with Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, but well behind our other attacking players, who all hovered around 200, already a disappointing figure.
Of course, Broja’s just 20 years old, and in his first Premier League season after making his senior bow at Vitesse the year prior. His season in fact reminds me quite a bit of Tammy Abraham’s first foray into the Premier League, with Swansea City in 2017: 5 goals in 31 appearances (plus another 3 in 8 in the cups). The difference was that Tammy started hot and ended ice cold, while Broja started ice cold, got hot, then cooled off again.
In the end, Tammy was deemed not quite ready for the Chelsea first-team yet, and instead had himself an excellent season on loan again, this time at Aston Villa in the Championship. Broja however seems unlikely to drop down a division, even if he is to head out on loan (or worse) again.
Southampton have been wanting to keep him since before January, while top-six contenders Arsenal and West Ham have all been linked recently as well. And there’s interest from the other end of the table as well, with Frank Lampard’s Everton being urged to have a go and newly promoted Nottingham Forest reportedly considering an approach now as well as they look to upgrade their attack to top tier-ish standard. And with the success of Chelsea exports in the Serie A, Napoli’s potential interest isn’t something to just laugh off necessarily either.
Chelsea would of course do well to give Broja at least a shot at the first-team this summer — especially if the aforementioned Werner and Ziyech were to depart — but we all know how these things can go