West Ham United are reportedly close to finding an agreement to sign Chelsea academy graduate Armando Broja.
According to The Athletic, the 20-year-old has left Chelsea’s US pre-season tour to head back to England as the two London clubs continue to hold talks over a permanent deal. Permanent terms between Armando Broja and West Ham are believed to be agreed, but contractual terms and the length of the Albanian’s contract at the London Stadium is “yet determined”.
The report also goes on to state the proposed move has not developed at the request of Chelsea, rather it is being driven by the player and his desire to be starting regular first-team matches, and playing under the tutelage of David Moyes within his progressive squad certainly appealing to Broja.
According to Fabrizio Romano, he said on Twitter: “West Ham have submitted two bids in the last 24 hours. Proposal around €35 million for Armando Broja, Chelsea have not decided yet as there are many clubs interested.”
West Ham have submitted two bids in the last 24 hours. Proposal around €35m for Armando Broja, Chelsea have not decided yet as there are many clubs interested. 🚨⚒️ #WHUFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 15, 2022
However, it is believed that the Hammers have indeed won the race for the striker’s signature and Moyes now finally seems to have got the number nine to his side have been crying out for since the departure of Sebastien Haller.
What will Armando Broja bring to the London Stadium?
After a respectable breakthrough season in the Premier League, the Albania international will be looking to build on the six league goals that he scored whilst on loan at Southampton. And considering his vast potential, rising stock and his suitability to David Moyes’ style in East London, this looks like the perfect deal for both parties.
Moyes only wants players with a specific skill set and will only sign players he is 100% sure on. If he isn’t, he will be content with a small squad, as shown last season. Therefore the attributes a striker has is incredibly important.
Antonio may lack that typical striker’s instinct and miss the occasional big chance that top strikers would score but he is about far more than finishing. His work rate is exceptional, his hold play is fantastic and he brings others into play like few others. His combination of pace and power is frightening when he’s on his game and his ability to create chances for others has significantly improved, and that is something Moyes has been looking to considerably bolster with more options.
Well, Armando Broja fits the bill perfectly. The Albanian international possesses all the attributes needed to continue striking fear into defenders. His 6foot 3 frame makes him a huge aerial presence, whilst his blistering speed makes him something of a physical anomaly.
To start with he is 12 years younger. Antonio is 32-years-old and may start to decline soon while Broja has his best years ahead of him.
The positives that Broja would bring to West Ham is firstly his speed and strength. He is extremely quick and very tough to knock off the ball, as defenders found it so difficult during his impressive spell at Southampton last campaign.
Southampton liked to attack very quickly in Hasenhuttl’s system and Broja was particularly excellent in sprinting up the pitch with and without the ball. He ranks in the 69th percentile for progressive carries (3.60) for strikers, and more importantly, he is very efficient and effective in the dribble, ranking in the 81st percentile amongst forwards in Europe’s top five leagues for dribbles completed per 90 (1.41).
With West Ham’s already great counter-attacking talent, he could be a real threat on the break, much like Jarrod Bowen is when he dribbles the ball forward.
Broja netted nine goals for the Saints last season (six in the Premier League) that may not seem the best return but his finishing is excellent, and you may argue his small return of six goals was down to the lacking of creativity and potency around him in the Saints squad. He could only perform in accordance to the quality around him.
Well, at West Ham, that quality will certainly increase which means Broja will be guaranteed more goals next term. Alongside the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma and Pablo Fornals and of course, Michail Antonio, the Slough-born forward will be playing alongside pace, power, creativity and decisiveness in the final third that he will be tasting for the first time in top-level football, and he is certainly more than capable in making his mark swiftly.
He has a powerful shot that he likes to drill into the corners but he is also capable of smart finishes (like chips) and showing composure in front of goal. When given more chances in the final third, his goal tally would no doubt increase.
Another advantage Armando Broja offers is his exceptional work-rate, and that is why Moyes is hell-bent in acquiring him. It’s what made Antonio so good, and what Broja would offer with more youthful exuberance. He runs tirelessly if that’s sprinting in behind the defence to get on to a through ball or to win the ball back. Southampton deployed a high pressing style and Ralph Hasenhuttl demanded great intensity from his attackers.
As a result, Broja’s stats made him one of the best defensive strikers around. He is incredible at applying pressure and making interceptions and tackles. He ranks in the 72nd percentile for pressures per 90 (17.13), the 59th percentile for tackles per 90 (0.77), 82nd percentile for interceptions (0.59) and in the 76th for blocks (1.00).
Armando Broja is also decent in the air winning 4.28 aerial duels per 90 which is impressive. The forward ranked in the 86th percentile for aerials won per 90 last season among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues, which instantly outlines him as a huge threat from any decent deliveries.
With West Ham boasting the fifth-best record in the Premier League from set pieces last season, the addition of Broja would only bolster their goalscoring options. We know David Moyes demands intensity and isn’t a fan of luxury players who won’t put in the hard yards, this is why he could be keen on Broja because he will buy into that philosophy.
The Cobham academy graduate plays with heart, desire and passion and that is what the Hammers need to take the next level this coming campaign.
The main negative of signing the Albanian is he doesn’t create opportunities like Antonio does. He registered just one assist all year – ten less than Antonio. However, West Ham needs a pure number nine, and that’s what Broja could become. He would be a more clinical striker than what the Irons have currently, plus, he can meet the demands of playing for a Moyes team with his youthful attributes.
Yes, Broja is a raw talent and he still needs much more development in his game and of course, more maturity but playing under a coach in David Moyes who holds a proven track record in consistently improving the talents at his disposal, this is an investment owner GSB will be excited to make.
West Ham faithful must surely be buzzing to see the club acquiring such a high-quality and high-potential forward with almost his whole career still ahead of him.
It’s an incredible and smart business made by the West Ham hierarchy.