NEWCASTLE UNITED are confident of being able to beat West Ham United to the signing of Armando Broja – but are still waiting for Chelsea to make a firm decision over the future of the Albanian striker.

After signing a goalkeeper (Nick Pope), left-back (Matt Targett) and centre-half (Sven Botman) already this summer, the two remaining areas Newcastle are looking to improve are centre-forward and the wide-attacking positions.

They thought they had landed a new striker when they agreed a deal with Reims for Hugo Ekitike last month, but talks with the 20-year-old and his representative have collapsed, with the youngster seemingly dragging his heels in the hope that Paris St Germain will offer him the opportunity to remain in Ligue 1.

While Newcastle have not completely written off resurrecting the deal later in the transfer window, they are currently assessing alternative attacking options.

Broja features prominently on their list, with the 20-year-old having scored nine goals in all competitions during a season-long loan spell at Southampton last season.

The Slough-born striker, who is a full Albania international, proved he could handle life in the Premier League, with his all-round attacking game making him an especially appealing proposition. Capable of playing as a central striker leading the line or as one of the wider components of a front three, Broja impressed despite still having been a teenager when last season began.

He has returned to Chelsea following the end of his loan deal, and is due to link up with the Blues’ first-team squad this week along with the rest of the club’s international contingent. Thomas Tuchel will then decide whether to include him in the squad for this month’s trip to the United States, where Chelsea will play games against Club America, Charlotte FC and Arsenal.

Broja could be given a chance to impress in the US, but at this stage, the likelihood of him featuring in Tuchel’s plans for next season are regarded as slight, with the Chelsea boss poised to make moves for both Raheem Sterling and Raphinha. As a result, there is a strong chance of Broja moving on again this summer.

Whether that is on another loan or in a permanent transfer remains to be seen, but Newcastle are willing to consider both options if they are placed on the table. Broja is a product of Chelsea’s academy system, and is contracted to Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2026.

He is valued at around £20-25m, and while West Ham have also been heavily linked with a move for his services this summer, Newcastle’s recruitment team are confident of being able to match or better whatever the Hammers offer Chelsea.

The Magpies also have an interest in Amine Gouiri, but the sense at the moment is that Nice’s asking price for the 22-year-old would be way above what they were prepared to pay.

Similarly, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been regarded as a potential target all summer, Everton’s decision to sell Richarlison to Tottenham means they are now much less keen to move on their other established centre-forward.