EVERTON have emerged as serious rivals to Newcastle United in the battle to land Chelsea striker Armando Broja.

Broja was not part of the initial Chelsea squad that flew to the United States for a pre-season tour this weekend, although Blues officials have suggested the Albanian could be added at a later stage.

Chelsea are due to play games against Club America, Charlotte FC and Arsenal, and Thomas Tuchel is willing to allow Broja to link up for the latter half of the tour if his future remains unresolved.

New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly held a meeting with Broja’s representatives last week to discuss the club’s plans for the 20-year-old striker, but talks remain ongoing with a final agreement still to be reached.

Newcastle are keen to sign Broja on a season-long loan, with a view to a potential permanent signing next summer, and are willing to meet Chelsea’s anticipated requirements in terms of a loan fee.

Broja impressed while on loan at Southampton last season, scoring nine goals in all competitions, but is unlikely to secure regular game time as part of Chelsea’s first-team squad next season.

Ideally, Newcastle’s recruitment team would like to set up a loan this summer as it would enable them to divert more financial resources to their ongoing pursuit of a wide attacker, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby firmly established as their number one target.

However, Everton are understood to have told Chelsea they are looking to do a permanent deal now, a scenario that might well be more appealing to the Blues than another loan deal.

Broja, who is valued at around £30m, is contracted to Chelsea until the summer of 2026, having initially joined the club as a youth player in 2018.

The Northern Echo: Southampton's Armando Broja scores Saints winning goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Leeds United at St Mary's Stadium. Photo by Stuart Martin..

To further complicate matters, West Ham United have also held talks with Chelsea officials, although, like Newcastle, the Hammers would currently prefer a loan deal to a permanent transfer.

Whether that changes if Everton table a formal offer remains to be seen, with the next couple of days likely to prove crucial. The Newcastle hierarchy are monitoring the situation closely, with Eddie Howe in constant dialogue with Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and the rest of the Magpies’ boardroom team despite having travelled to Austria for a pre-season training camp.

Newcastle’s first-team squad left Tyneside at the weekend, with Elliot Anderson, Matty Longstaff and Kell Watts all having been included in the travelling squad.

Ciaran Clark, Dwight Gayle and Jeff Hendrick did not make the trip to Austria, with all three currently involved in discussion aimed at severing their ties with the Magpies.

Clark, who was omitted from Newcastle’s 25-man Premier League squad in January, is close to completing a season-long loan move to Sheffield United that will effectively end his Magpies career given that he has already entered the final 12 months of his contract at St James’ Park.

Gayle is attracting interest from a number of Championship clubs, with Middlesbrough and Watford both having held discussions over the 32-year-old in the last few days, while Hendrick has been linked with a possible move to Reading.