Marco Silva addresses Armando Broja's long-term future as Fulham boss reveals failed transfer pursuit

Broja has struggled for game time at Fulham (PA)
Broja has struggled for game time at Fulham (PA)

Fulham tried and failed to sign Armando Broja as Aleksandar Mitrovic’s replacement in August.

Mitrovic scored 111 goals in six seasons for Fulham before joining Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal for £46million on August 19.

That came 25 days after Fulham had signed Raul Jimenez from Wolves for £5m, and they have not made a permanent signing in the forward position since.

However, Broja was signed via a deal sheet late on transfer deadline day on February 1. He has struggled for game-time, though, in what has turned out to be an ill-fated six-month loan, given the emergence of Rodrigo Muniz as a regular source of goals.

Manager Marco Silva has now revealed to Standard Sport that the club attempted to sign Broja permanently as Mitrovic’s replacement last summer.

“It’s been difficult for him and it’s been difficult for me as well”, Silva said of Broja.

“I was the main one responsible for him being at this football club. I pushed really hard for him to be here. I have to say that, last summer, I tried to sign him when we sold Mitrovic.

“He’s a player I really appreciate. He has all the abilities to play at the highest level.

“Last few games we’ve had everybody available. Issa Diop, for example, has been a starting XI player so many times this season and the last three games was out of the squad list as well. No one speaks about that because he’s not a Chelsea player.

“It’s been tougher for Armando, with all his ambition to play. When you go for a loan in the last days of the market, you expect the player to come and have an impact. But when you have a striker scoring goals the way he [Muniz] has been scoring, it is not giving chances for the others.”

Muniz is currently Fulham’s starting striker with Jimenez often appearing off the bench. Broja’s loan fee would have been free if he had played a certain percentage of Fulham’s matches this season, but an automatic clause was recently triggered, costing the Cottagers £4m.

“It’s competition between the three”, Silva said. “I start with one striker, another on the bench. In football, everything happens so quickly. We have two great examples even in his position: Raul was 16 months without a goal. And Rodrigo, in two months, all the questions are about him.”

Asked whether any desire to sign Broja permanently has now dissipated, Silva said: “I will not talk about the future of Armando. He’s not our own player and it doesn’t depend only on us.”