Jack Stroudley assesses if Armando Broja is worth his potential six-month loan.
Well it appears that Fulham have finally pulled their finger out in this transfer window and after trying for what seems like half of Europe’s attackers today, we look set to sign Armando Broja for a loan fee of up to £4m. Fulham have been pretty lacklustre going forward in recent weeks with just two goals from our last six Premier League matches so added depth was needed, but is Broja the man?
A deeper dive
Armando Broja has had a difficult career for someone aged just 22, the then 19-year-old caught the attention of Southampton following a good loan spell at Vitesse and performed okay under Ralph Hasenhuttl scored six Premier League goals across a season and is statistically very similar to Raul Jimenez this season.
The Albanian was wasteful being in the bottom 25% for shots taken per 90 minutes (Jimenez in the bottom 31%) as well as in the bottom 11% for shot creating actions (Jimenez in the bottom 19%). The one stat from that season that Broja impressed in was progressively carrying the ball with 2.55 per 90 putting him in the top 29%.
Since returning to Chelsea, Broja has been plagued with injuries. A cruciate ligament tear set the striker back missing 39 consecutive games. He’s struggled to find his feet since that injury with his only goal this season ironically coming at Craven Cottage. His xG is 2.4 for the season but while he is underperforming, everything about his game (minus putting the ball in the back of the net) looks quite promising.
Broja is in the top 1% of forwards for pass completion (albeit with 18.63 passes per 90 he doesn’t seem to get on the ball that much) as well as the top 4% for take-ons and the top 7% for touches in the box. He’s struggled so far at Chelsea but he’s a very typical Marco Silva striker with a strong build and an ability to bring the ball forward, with a bit of confidence he could be good for us.
I do wonder if our problems lay a little deeper than just a striker though. It’s apparent that Jimenez is a stop-gap with Vinicius and Muniz both not being up to Premier League standard. The addition of Broja is okay but I wonder if we need to be looking slightly further back and not focus all of the blame towards our ‘number 9’s’.
We seem to be pretty stagnant in attack without Alex Iwobi with a lot of reliance of Willian to produce some magic and Antonee Robinson to put a good ball into the box which either A) never happens or B) the one time a game it does happen we don’t have a forward with the awareness to be in the right position.
We obviously need a striker, I just wonder if we should be looking for some more creative players especially with the likes of Harry Wilson out injured. At the time of publishing, we’ve been linked to a few names but none seem to be concrete, maybe there’s another deal sheet on the cards?
The final verdict
Fulham are desperate for goals and with Jimenez out for a few weeks it’s forced our hand to be active in the market. The fee itself is up in the air with suggestions that the maximum Fulham will pay is £4m with a potential loan fee of nothing if he plays less than half our remaining fixtures. It seems like a bit of a panic and while I’m not Broja’s biggest fan he’s better than other rotational options that we have. I’m just once again left wondering what on earth our recruitment model is.