Liverpool are on the verge of completing a deal for Chelsea’s soon to be out of contract forward Dominic Solanke, reports the Guardian.
He’ll cost us between £2m and £3m and will sign terms on around £20k/week.
On the surface, we find this deal is a little surprising…
The 19-year-old was frozen out by Antonio Conte this season just gone, making no appearances for the title winners in any competition. He spent 2015/16 on loan at Vitesse in Holland, where he scored seven goals in 25 appearances, but his progress seems to have plateaued since – worrying considering he turns 20 in a few months’ time.
The reason he’s leaving Chelsea, presumably, is to play more first-team football, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a way into Jurgen Klopp’s first-team.
When Sadio Mane is fit, Klopp will play with one striker, meaning Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and the returning Danny Ings will be competing for one position.
The fact Sturridge made just seven Premier League starts in 2016/17, despite Mane missing two months and Ings the entire season, proves this.
So barring some monstrous injury crisis, Solanke will be used in the Under-23s when he arrives. But we currently have Rhian Brewster starting for Michael Garrity’s side, and the 17-year-old is making tremendous strides. Would Solanke’s inclusion here unnecessarily limit Brewster’s minutes?
There’s a chance Jurgen Klopp is planning to sell Sturridge, but this still begs the question: why is a top level striker not being brought in as a replacement? We’d be surprised to see and out and out centre-forward purchased as well as Solanke…
Obviously, this could end up being a genius deal, as it’s relatively risk-free. Klopp’s proven that he’ll give youngsters that are shining in the Under-23s chances – but we’re surprised Solanke has chosen this level of football over, say, Celtic – who’ll be playing in the Champions League next year under Brendan Rodgers and can offer him genuine opportunities.
What’s perhaps most worrying for us if that if we’re signing Solanke, there seems no room for the elite level striker many regard as a necessity.
Perhaps the teenager can eventually become this, but having qualified for the Champions League, we likely need a readymade one for 2017/18.