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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Nizaar Kinsella

Armando Broja to step up injury recovery with Chelsea Under-21s ahead of first-team return

Armando Broja will travel with Chelsea’s Under-21s for a pre-season training camp in Portugal in a bid to be ready for Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival on July 1.

The 21-year-old will step up his recovery by spending a few days with the academy team that are due to start their workouts on Wednesday, in a major milestone towards his comeback from injury.

Chelsea have been without their striker since December, when he got injured in a friendly against Aston Villa during the World Cup break.

Broja tore his cruciate ligament but is expected to be ready to play under Pochettino on the pre-season tour of the United States.

Pochettino begins work on July 1 but won’t be with his first-team until July 3 when Chelsea’s senior players are due to begin preparations for the new season. They will initially take part in a team meeting before training under the new manager for the first time on July 4.

The new coaching staff - featuring Jesus Perez, Toni Jimenez, Miguel D’Agostino and Sebastiano Pochettino - will put the players through a gruelling two-week fitness regime at Chelsea’s Cobham Training Centre.

They will then fly across the Atlantic to North Carolina for their first friendly, againt Wrexham. The Blues will also face Fulham, Newcastle and Brighton in the inaugural Premier League Summer Series.

Chelsea will be based in Philadelphia for the majority of the tour before finishing with a one-off friendly match against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago.

Armando Broja got injured in a friendly against Aston Villa during the World Cup break (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea will welcome new signing Christopher Nkunku to the squad after his £53million was confirmed and hope to seal a deal for Villarreal striker Nicolas Jackson by the time pre-season begins, while talks with Brighton over Moises Caicedo might be completed by then. They also want to sell a host of players to slim Pochettino's squad down to a more manageable level.

Broja is not for sale and is set to compete against Jackson for a place up front. The Senegalese youngster is in advanced talks over his transfer to Stamford Bridge. Romelu Lukaku is demanding another year at Inter Milan next season and his future remains unclear, while Kai Havertz is in talks with Arsenal.

The Albania international will initially be eased back into action but can realistically expect to be in the first-team picture for the start of the season.

He recently spent time with his national team in Tirana, watching a 2-0 win over Moldova at the Air Albania Stadium.

Chelsea face Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the Premier League season on August 13.

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