Chelsea starlet Broja, 20, faces biggest test yet v Man City as Southampton try to agree permanent transfer deal

Chelsea starlet Broja, 20, faces biggest test yet v Man City as Southampton try to agree permanent transfer deal

Armando Broza is one of the key members of Ralph Hasenhuttle’s ‘boy group’ that is making Southampton young and hip again.

That’s the phrase that Hasenhuttle and his coaching staff use to refer to Broza’s quintet, best pal Tino Livramento and fellow Whizkids Nathan Tella, Will Smallbone, and Dianell Simu.

Armando Broza is one of Ralph Hasenhuttel's 'boy groups'


Armando Broza is one of Ralph Hasenhuttel’s ‘boy groups’credits: PA

Gangs are often inseparable around the Saints’ training ground, regularly eating, changing and moving together.

Broja and Livramento, 19, have gone a long way after reaching the top at Chelsea.

Livramento joined permanently at Stamford Bridge over the summer, while Broza followed shortly after on a season-long loan.

The Saints would love to sign the 20-year-old permanently and are encouraged by how much Broja is enjoying life on the south coast surrounded by young friends.

His and Livramento’s successes have transformed Southampton’s reputation from an unfashionable club that Danny Ings, Janik Vestergaard and Ryan Bertrand decided to leave over the summer, a place young players want to come to.

Hasenhutl has said that other blooming talents have seen how Broja has developed in the first half of the season and are now looking to switch to St.

Broja has already been a hit among Saints fans.


Broja has already been a hit among Saints getty


Broja – pronounced bro-ya – was born with her two sisters in Slow, the home of David Brent, about 20 miles west of London.

It was here that his father Zvehir and mother Blarina had left Albania 23 years ago in search of a better life.

Despite his relocation to Blighty, Broja has always felt deeply connected to his Albanian roots and speaks the language well with an English twang with his accent.

He regularly went back to his home village of Kamise during the summer holidays.

It is 16 miles north of the historic Balkan town of Shkodar, where Phil Foden helped England’s under-21 team beat Albania 3–0 three years earlier – although Broja was with his country’s Under-19s at the time. Was.

Broja’s parents built a football pitch next to their house to ensure that he continued to practice his football skills during the summer.

Broja's parents built this football pitch next to their house


Broja’s parents built this football pitch next to their housecredit: Panorama Sport
And Chelsea are drawing indebted Albanian fans to St. Mary's


And Chelsea are drawing indebted Albanian fans to St. Mary’s

The forward was picked up by Tottenham at the age of eight, but then moved to Chelsea at the age of 11 after impressing in a game between the two London rivals.

He was always seen as a talent within the blues academy and then when the opportunity arose to join sister club Vitesse on loan last season, he did not think twice, packed a bag and left.

Broja finished joint top scorer for the Dutch side with 10 Eredivisie goals and caught Southampton’s attention with his speed, power and finishing ability.

Hasenhutl believed his team lacked an attacker and created a pitch for the player, his family, representatives and Chelsea that promised first-team opportunities, learning and mistakes away from the spotlight.

The Austrian kept his word, even claiming that Broja’s family is eager for him to extend his stay on the south coast—particularly because he enjoys the company he lives in.

Hasenhuttl said: “It has never been as easy for him as it has been here because his best partner from the very first moment with him was Tino.

“Here we have some young boys who are always training with us and who are always hanging out together. We call them ‘The Boy Group’.

“It’s fantastic for him to be with her now. I think that’s why he loves it so much here.”

“When you feel as a player that what you have been asked to do helps you develop your game, then you do it and love to do it.

“The rewards are goals and good performance.

“We tried to deliver what we promised and it’s an honest way of handling it that helps you come here and find your role in this club early.”

Keeping their promises will certainly help Southampton in any future talks with Broja, if they get to that point.

Chelsea’s plans

But Chelsea only handed him a five-year deal last summer and it is understood he will be seen as part of their first-team plans next season.

Talks are underway between Saints chief executive Martin Semens and Chelsea dealmaker Marina Granovskia.

Perhaps Southampton’s best bet is a deal similar to that of Livramento, who have a buy-back clause of around £38million for Chelsea, meaning the London club could re-sign him if he reaches a level worthy of that amount. reaches.

Here Broja’s every cough and spit makes headlines in Albania, where the forward is a superstar.

Fans and media alike are baffled by national manager Eddie Reza’s reluctance to make him a regular start, with both their winners against Hungary – a team England failed to beat at home – off the bench this season. is coming.

There is a group of Albanian fans who are regularly seen at Southampton games holding their national flag, which has a double-headed eagle on it which Broja refers to with his goal celebration.

The striker became the youngest player in the Premier League to score five or more goals with his strike in a 4-1 win over Brentford earlier this month.

On Saturday, Broja will have his final test in club football when the Saints host league-leaders Manchester City, followed by tough tours of Tottenham and Manchester United.

Hasenhutl said: “It will not be so easy to score goals in some games and I think the next few games will be games where it is not always that easy to finish one against one.

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“There you have to show and prove that you are capable of performing even against the best centre-back in the world. That’s what he has to do.”

It’s quite a challenge.

But, ironically, if Broza passes it well, it may only make Chelsea more convinced that this boy group talisman has a long-term future in his hands.

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