As per talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook, the Hammers are not set to be joined in the race for the 20-year-old’s signature by fellow Premier League outfit Southampton, despite the Albania international having impressed on loan at St Mary’s last season.
Writing on Twitter about the forward’s future, the transfer insider revealed that the potential financial package has put the Saints off, meaning the Irons are now in pole to secure his signature: “Understand #SaintsFC are not competing with #WHUFC for Armando Broja. They view wages and transfer fee as too high. Don’t think his form in the second half of the season helped either.”
This follows reports that GSB are set to make a £30m offer to the Blues for their academy product, albeit with possible involvement in Thomas Tuchel’s first-team squad next term at Stamford Bridge having also been mooted.
David Moyes and co have seemingly identified the highly-rated prospect as the man to solve their centre-forward woes, with the £19.8m-rated ace having caught the eye during that spell on the south coast, netting nine times in all competitions in what was his first full, Premier League campaign.
Prior to that, Broja had spent a year on loan with Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem during the 2020/21 season – netting 11 times in all competitions – while he’s made just a solitary first-team appearance at his parent club, with that coming under Frank Lampard over two years ago.
That relative lack of experience may be a concern, although his eyecatching form under Ralph Hasenhuttl has illustrated just what a talent he is, with the £8.5k-per-week brute having been dubbed “devastating” by his national team assistant coach, Sergio Porrini.
The powerful, 6 foot 3 “machine” – as described by Simon Peach – proved himself a real handful up against top-flight defences last term, notably netting a stunning solo goal in his side’s 3-1 win over the east London outfit in the FA Cup back in March.
That lethal impact in the final third could see the Slough-born marksman blossom into something of a talisman for the Irons over the coming years, with that role having previously been assumed by French playmaker, Dimitri Payet.
Although it may be somewhat hard to compare the physical, young striker with the 35-year-old, creative genius, the pair are in fact noted as similar players, according to Football Transfers, with such likeness likely to set pulses racing at the London Stadium.
While his time in English football may have been brief, Payet certainly left his mark both on the Hammers fanbase and the league as a whole, serving up multiple moments of jaw-dropping quality, be it that outrageous rabona assist for Michail Antonio, or the gravity-defying, looping free-kick at Upton Park against Crystal Palace in April 2016.
In a class of his own, the 38-cap “magician” – as he has been dubbed by Carl Anka- was a truly joyous player to watch in his pomp, with the only sour note having been the nature of his swift departure in January 2017, just 18 months after joining the club.
The hope will be that young Broja can make a similar, yet longer-lasting impact in a claret and blues jersey, with the Payet case proving that West Ham can be a platform for top-class talent to truly shine.