The Curious Case of Dominic Solanke

The Curious Case of Dominic Solanke
July 27, 2017 Daniel Rhodes

… and his transfer to Liverpool Football Club.

By Daniel Rhodes.

“My conscience tells me that if, for example, Baker, Brown, and Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself.

They are part of a process the club started without me. In this moment, we have players who will be Chelsea players. And when they become Chelsea players, they will become England players, almost for sure.

At 16 or 17 I don’t think it’s good for them to go somewhere else to play, like in the Championship. At 17 they have to train with us and they have to learn with us. They will learn a lot.”

Jose Mourinho, July 2014.

You’ve all heard the quotes. Chelsea went on to win the league in 2014/15. Dominic Solanke scored 41 goals in 39 appearances for the u18s and u21s at Chelsea that season. All going to plan, or so it seemed…

Chelsea went on to fall apart, Mourinho was sacked, and in fact, failed to take any of the blame. Solanke was loaned out to Vitesse Arnhem – along with Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown – and none of them have gone on to become Chelsea players. They didn’t stay with the first team. They didn’t learn with them.

Solanke returned to the Blues at the start of the 2016/17 season. Again, Chelsea won the league. This time though, Solanke hardly got a game either with the u23s, or the first team. He was still only 18 when the season started, and so playing football was probably important to his development.

He then went on to captain England u20s in the World Cup, win the tournament, and be voted the best player. Potentially one of the outstanding forward prospects of his age group, praised to the hilt since he burst onto the scene at the age of 16, then frozen out by his club only a couple of years later; before a transfer to Liverpool Football Club this summer – for a fee to be decided by a tribunal but thought to be between £3m and £5m. Quite a turnaround.

Curious & Confusing

Has he regressed?

Does Solanke have an attitude problem, letting all the praise go to his head, as the cliche goes?

Was all the hype really justified?

Should Chelsea take some of the blame, or is Mourinho the one at fault?

Why have we signed him when it appears, to the outside eye, that he’ll struggle for first team minutes?

The rest of this article is for subscribers only and includes an in-depth video analysis of various aspects to Solanke’s game, including: off-the-ball movement, shooting, throughballs and creativity, running the channels, first touch, strength on the ball, aerial duels and dribbling ability.