Thomas Tuchel has doubled down on his narrative that Armando Broja’s long-term future at Chelsea (or lack thereof, to be entirely specific) isn’t yet written in stone, despite the 20-year-old heading back to England with an injury that was initially termed as nothing too serious.
West Ham United are certainly not taking this as a warning sign, and are reportedly pushing ever harder for the striker’s signature — he’s their “number one priority” in a £30m deal (i.e. not a loan), as per the latest dispatches.
But in his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s friendly in Charlotte, NC, Tuchel has claimed that Broja’s here to stay despite all that noise, especially as we will need all the (quality) attacking players we can get with the increased number of substitutions that we will be allowed to make thanks to that rule (finally) changing to five from three per game.
“Armando was injured and I don’t expect Armando to leave. We are aware of offers and interest, it just tells us that he has a lot of potential.
“We will make a decision together, the owners and me, and also in the end with the player. Right now, from when he arrived, it was clear that he tried to impress and become a Chelsea player as soon as possible. After his loan in Southampton, the situation was very clear that he wanted to make the next step and show his improvement and make an impression in pre-season.
“Unfortunately, he injured himself. There’s a lot of noise because there are a lot of offers and interest in him. So let’s see how this goes. But I am pretty calm about it. We know the situation. He has a contract and from there we go.”
While Broja does indeed have a contract with us through 2026, he’s also (reportedly) very much done with the general uncertainty of the Loan Army. So even if Tuchel doesn’t expect him to leave (for good), Broja himself might have something to say about that.
Tuchel has likened the situation to Conor Gallagher’s from last summer — which is looking likely to have worked out wonderfully for us — but that may be wishful thinking on our (and the head coach’s) part.
“We have to, like last season with Connor, we always have to weigh up our interest and player interest and what is good for the club. We can talk in general, the question is what is good for the player do we have a role or not. Is there a prospect of getting minutes?
“If there isn’t players like Armando who already play in Premier League it’s not enough just to train with the group. [We] have to look at situation carefully and decide if we have minutes we can offer to continue to bring his development or whether it is better to bring him to another loan.”
That said, with five substitutes now allowed in the Premier League as well, we can certainly have a bit more flexibility in how we distribute minutes between the squad. Tuchel expects that most of that flexibility will be in how he utilizes attacking players, which could be beneficial for the likes of Broja, if somehow he ends up staying with us after all this.
“It will be a bit easier this season because we have five changes and it’s very likely we will use most of the changes for offensive players because they are the positions you can normally have a huge impact and where the intensity is very high.
“Normally you don’t change too much in the back, your defence, or in central midfield. This can play a huge role in giving minutes. On the other hand, of course, we are also keen to find more or less a starting line-up and right the mixture that is good together and provides goals and assists, and danger for the opponent.
“So it’s a mix between both of it and at the moment we have a lot of offensive players and we need to try to find spaces and positions and a role, because everyone needs a role to feel confident and that the players can be the best versions of themselves.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Here’s to being the best versions of ourselves.