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Transfer Rumor: Arsenal linked with Chelsea loanee Armando Broja

Expect the number of center forwards rumored to be on the club’s radar to keep growing as the summer approaches.

Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Have you heard? Arsenal needs a new forward for next season. Yes, breaking news I’m sure. The club is currently utilizing the strategy of letting all three senior strikers walk away for free over the course of a six month period, while also trying to get back into the UEFA Champions League. Bold, but let’s see how it plays out. Regardless of where they finish, we know Arsenal likely needs at least two new forward options this summer.

Enter Chelsea product and current Southampton frontman, Armando Boja. Multiple outlets are reporting that he is the next striker to be linked with a move to the Emirates after this season. So let’s take a quick look at who he is, Arsenal’s depth chart at his position, and if this move might make sense for the Gunners.

Player: Armando Broja, 20

Current Club: He is a product of the Chelsea academy. Broja worked his way through their U18s and U23s sides before heading out for loan experience. First, it was Vitesse in the Eredivisie where he managed 11 goals & 3 assists in 34 matches. The season he has taken another step forward and shown his readiness for the Premier League at Southampton. While with the Saints he has scored 8 times and provided 1 assist from 24 games so far this year. His current deal with Chelsea runs through 2026.

International: A member of the Albanian senior team, Broja scored in three straight World Cup qualification matches earlier this season. Albania just barely missed out on reaching the playoffs, finishing two points behind Poland. Unfortunately for his side, Broja missed their last two qualification matches due to an injury. But given his age, they will feel optimistic about their chances of qualifying for the next Euros.

Position(s): He is a true center forward target man. Which is exactly what Arsenal’s current squad is lacking. Broja comes in at 6’3”. To compare Alexandre Lacazette is 5’9” and Arsenal’s last target man, Oliver Giroud, was 6’4”.

Potential Price: Estimated around $10 million by Transfermarkt. His value has dramatically increased from $3 million since last season. And if his current progression continues with Southampton, he will likely fetch closer to $15-20 million if rival Premier League clubs come to bid.

Arsenal Positional Depth (Center Forward):

  • Alexandre Lacazette (contract expiring)
  • Eddie Nketiah (contract expiring)
  • Folarin Balogun (on loan, limited senior minutes with Arsenal)
  • Gabriel Martinelli (potential change of position)

Arsenal Need: High. This is Arsenal’s primary objective for the summer window. While the club needs a new backup right-back, a new defensive midfielder, and possibly a new attacking midfielder/winger, forward is the gaping hole. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has left the club, while both Lacazette and Nketiah’s contracts expire in June. At the moment Arsenal would have either Martinelli trying to play as the frontman or current Middlesbrough loanee Folarin Balogun up top. At this point it’s expected that both Lacazette and Nketiah will walk away, leaving Arsenal needing at least two strikers this summer. Given Broja’s experience with Southampton, price tag, age, and that he fills a gap in the current squad (target man), he is a very intriguing option to consider.

Final Verdict: Chelsea are unlikely to need or use Broja next season. Instead he is one of many sound investments they’ve made over the past decade that will turn a profit for them so they can chase the likes of Erling Haaland. However, they don’t need to sell him this summer and won’t be willing to let their London rivals get him for a low price. If Broja believes his long-term path at Chelsea is blocked, he may push for a full exit. At Arsenal, this move makes a lot of sense. Arteta needs two new forwards and one of them should be a target man. Arsenal have lacked that since Giroud left and it limits their attacking options. $10-20 million is completely reasonable for a 20-year-old forward with Premier League experience. And it leaves Edu plenty of resources to chase that second striker.