Transfer Talk: Hammer blow for rivals as Irons lead Broja race
West Ham have a problem up front — and Armando Broja could be the solution.
The Irons are short of strikers with Michail Antonio the only out-and-out centre forward in David Moyes' squad.
But that might be about to change amid reports that the Hammers are lining up a £30million bid for Chelsea youngster Broja.
We take a look at what the Albanian ace would bring to East London.
West Ham's striker struggles have been well documented over the past few seasons.
They have not replaced big-money flop Sebastien Haller since his switch to Ajax in January 2021 and relied on Antonio spearheading their frontline during a gruelling 56-game 2021-22 campaign.
Jarrod Bowen can also operate up front but is at his best when playing out wide on the right.
Having qualified for the 2022-23 Europa Conference League, Moyes will need plenty of squad depth next term so a new central striker will be an essential recruit over the coming weeks.
Making an impression
Broja is reportedly at the top of West Ham's shopping list.
And it is no surprise that the 14-cap international is in demand after an impressive loan spell at Southampton last season.
The 6ft 3in forward only netted nine times in 38 appearances in all competitions but caught the eye with his pacy runs and impressive hold-up play.
And at 20 years old, there is also plenty of room for improvement under Moyes' expert tutelage.
A focal point
With West Ham employing a 4-2-3-1 formation for much of last season, finding a striker who can be the focal point of their attacks is crucial.
Broja fits the bill in that regard — he is a hard-working and physical presence up top with aerial ability to match.
Only 10 Premier League players won more aerial duels than his four per 90 minutes in 2021-22, while he was inside the division's top four performers when it came to regaining possession in the attacking third (1.37 per 90).
Leeds, Leicester and Napoli are all believed to be keeping tabs on Broja — but Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will be keen on bringing him back to the South Coast.
Speaking in April, he said: "At this moment it is not easy to negotiate with Chelsea.
"There is no question, and it is not surprising that I want him to stay here another year. I know this would be good for him."
Nonetheless, West Ham will be strong contenders for his signature with European football on offer at the London Stadium.
A deal to be done?
Chelsea will be reluctant to lose one of their hottest prospects to a Premier League rival — and Romelu Lukaku’s impending departure limits the Blues' attacking options.
But Thomas Tuchel's men are reportedly ready to move for Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, which would push Broja further down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
With the 14-cap Albanian international keen to secure first-team football for next season, a summer switch to West Ham may be the best solution for all parties.