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Chelsea's Broja dilemma: Should the Blues reclaim or cash in on Southampton record-breaker?

3:00 AM EST 1/22/22
Armando Broja Southampton Premier League 2021-22
Thomas Tuchel is a fan of the 20-year-old but the Saints are desperate to make the striker's loan stay permanent at the end of the season

Chelsea could be set for a transfer tug of war with Southampton over the future of Armando Broja.

It's easy to understand why the 20-year-old is a man in demand.

He has scored seven times in 20 appearances in all competitions since arriving on loan at St Mary's from Chelsea during the summer, averaging a goal every 158.4 minutes.

In doing so, Broja also became the youngest player in Premier League history to net in his first four home starts – and the first of any age to do so since Diego Costa for Chelsea in 2014.

Furthermore, the Albania international, who had a productive loan spell at Vitesse last season, has three goals and two assists in his last four matches for his country.

Hardly surprising, then, that Southampton boss Ralph Hassenhuttl is keen to keep the striker on a permanent basis.

“Sure [we can sign Broja], he likes it here,” the Austrian told reporters. "It would be great if he was our player and he wants to be with us. I think you can feel this in every moment."

Southampton have every reason to be optimistic of convincing Broja to stay beyond the end of the season, of course.

Not only have they been bolstered by a recent takeover by Sport Republic, after five years of moderate investment under previous owner Gao Jisheng, the Saints also snapped up another Chelsea academy graduate, Tino Livramento, last summer.

"Young players that can't make it at Chelsea or Man City are welcome here,” Hasenhuttl said recently. “We will give them the platform and want to create new stars."

GOAL understands that Broja is open to staying beyond his season-long loan on the South Coast.

However, Chelsea will obviously have a major say in what happens next, given the forward is under contract until 2026.

The Blues have, however, shown a willingness to sell homegrown talents for massive profits.

They didn't just let Livramento leave last summer, after all. Chelsea raised a grand total of £90 million ($123m) from selling youngsters to fund the £97.5m ($136m) signing of Romelu Lukaku from Inter.

So, they could easily decide to cash in on Broja for a profit. However, it is worth noting Tuchel is an admirer of the Slough-born attacker and was considering including Broja in his squad for the 2021-22 campaign if Chelsea failed to land a new striker during the summer window.

The German manager has also been closely monitoring Broja's progress at Southampton.

"Armando's getting better and better, he's a very unique player with unique strengths in his game, he has speed, he's robust and he's a goalscorer," Tuchel said last week.

"First of all, now is not the moment to discuss the summer. It's the moment for him to stay calm and keep on improving."

Even if Broja isn't quite deemed ready to play for Chelsea next season, the club could well opt to insert a buy-back clause into any transfer, as they did when selling Livramento to Southampton for £5m (£6.8m).

Indeed, the west Londoners can bring the defender back to Stamford Bridge in 18 months' time for £34m ($46m) if they so wish.

When it comes to Broja, Chelsea also have the option of including sell-on clauses, which are often appealing to both the seller and the buyer, as it means the former could yet make a further profit on the player, while the latter is able to acquire the player for a lower price than usual.

This mutually beneficial arrangement helped interest parties sign Lewis Bate, Myles Peart-Harris and Dynel Simeu from the Blues during the summer.

However, there is not expected to be any immediate movement on Broja's future.

Despite Southampton's strong statement of intent to make a deal happen, both he and Chelsea will defer any transfer talks until the summer.

That is likely to mean that the Saints will face increased competition for his signature, given Broja's rapid rate of progress.

It's also expected to be a busy summer window in terms of forwards, with the likes of Erling Haaland, Dusan Vlahovic and Jonathan David all expected to be on the move, which could lead to a transfer merry-go-round.

The knock-on effects could have an impact on various other players at various other clubs, including Chelsea.

Still, while it's not yet clear where Broja's future lies, it's clear that he's presently on the right path to football stardom.