We’ve had a few years of fun with the Chelsea academy, but the last week has been rough.
Marc Guehi is about to be sold to Crystal Palace after snubbing a new deal. Valentino Livramento, Lewis Bate and Myles Peart-Harris have all turned down extensions, and Dynel Simeu was happy to let his contract expire.
Guehi is on his way to Crystal Palace / Athena Pictures / Getty Images
Suddenly that path back to the first team seems to have closed again, but fortunately at least one youngster still thinks he has a shot at doing so at Stamford Bridge as the club have confirmed that 19-year-old striker Armando Broja has put paper on paper about a new one. five-year contract.
“I am very happy to sign a new contract with Chelsea,” said Broja. “After getting through the academy here, it was a special moment for me to make my first team debut last year before I gained further experience of loaning at Vitesse last season.
“I want to build on these foundations and I really look forward to moving forward and making an impact on Chelsea in the years to come.”
Broja has given Chelsea the perfect chance to prove that the road from academia to first team still remains. He’s a young player who’s obviously keen on playing for Chelsea, and fortunately for the Blues he’s pretty good.
With ten goals loaned out by Vitesse last season, Broja was the highest-scoring teenager in Europe’s top ten leagues. He made a real impact on the loan on the same side that gave Mason Mount its first break in the senior game a few years ago.
A powerful goal scorer, Broja showed the skill to find the net that was not always shown in Chelsea last year (Tammy Abraham aside), and although it can not be denied that there is a real quality gap between the two leagues, his performance should not be ignored.
Armando Broja has signed a new long-term contract with the Blues! ✍️
– Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 18, 2021
Broja proved he can play at Premier League level, and while a loan to a smaller side for guaranteed minutes could be a smart move, Thomas Tuchel should look to give Broja some playing time at Stamford Bridge next year.
There is an obvious opening in the squad after Olivier Giroud’s departure to AC Milan, and Abraham’s likely exit leaves Chelsea without a recognized striker. We know that the Blues are looking for a new starter – 90min was the first to reveal the upcoming bid for Erling Haaland – but they may also need a backup, and that’s where Broja comes in.
There will be plenty of minutes to offer for the one who eventually becomes the second choice striker, and if it is Broja who gets that role he would learn much more than on another loan away from the club, and he is good enough to justify his inclusion with a goal or two along the way.
Thomas Tuchel is clearly paying attention to the teenager. He got 45 minutes in the first left-handed game – the 6-1 win over Peterborough – and made his mark with a goal, an assist and two strikes that were ruled out for offside.
It has been impossible for Chelsea to find the delicate balance required for academy progression. Obviously, not all children can cope, but there must be a happy medium. The Blues can not begin to bleed the prospect again.
Broja can prove that the opportunities come for all children who serve them. He deserves a shot, and Tuchel is clearly open to the idea of giving him that. Just give the Albanian a foot in the door and you will not be disappointed with the result.