For Chelsea fans, hearing derogatory comments about the clubs use of the loan system has become commonplace. Despite clearly making it easy for players to build careers for themselves across the spectrum, either at Chelsea or at other big clubs, the use of the loan system has long been held against the Blues. However, there are many great examples of players who have gone on loan and either established themselves at their parent club (Mason Mount being the best, most obvious example) or at other clubs (the likes of Kurt Zouma a fine example of this).
However, it is becoming more and more common for Chelsea loanees to make good on their progress and then stick around at the club for the long-term. One player who might just tick that box in the near future if Armando Broja.
The youngster enjoyed a good spell in Holland with Vitesse, as many Blues youngsters have. However, it is his form for Southampton so far that has fans – and those at the club, if reports are to be believed – salivating with exciting.
When you watch Broja, it is easy to note comparisons to Blues forwards of the past. Perhaps the most striking example, though, is the comparisons with Nicholas Anelka. The former France striker was a key player for years at Stamford Bridge, often providing a fantastic rotational open when Didier Drogba was not present.
Broja earning rave reviews on the South Coast
With six goals already for Saints, it is clear that Broja has taken his next step in development while in the Premier League. He scored against Crystal Palace in midweek, and most Saints fans will say he is the ideal striker for their line-up and style. While the club paid big money for Adam Armstrong, it is the form of Broja that has most fans positive for the rest of the season.
Six goals in a team that has been teetering on the brink of relegation battles for a few years now, too, is a fine example of how well Broja is doing. If he manages to break into double figures, then it would be hard for the staff at Stamford Bridge to ignore his incredible progress.
Regular goals are a rarity for young loanees, especially when joining a team that is struggling to perform like Southampton are. Broja, though, has taken to their system with gusto and his goals are a huge positive. However, it is his general play and his general optimism with the ball that has Saints fans so excited.
In a team that looks bereft of self-belief, Broja never looks like he feels overawed. If anything, he looks more confident than ever. Long-tipped as a potential star striker of the future, like many Chelsea academy prospects it was down to making the right next step.
Though Chelsea might have some fine strikers on the first-team books at present, it is the form of Broja that has most so excited. In a summer where Romelu Lukaku returned to the Bridge, few thought it would be Broja that would be getting all of the praise.