Date: 30th May 2017 at 3:56pm
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Out-of-contract Chelsea teenager Dominic Solanke is set to move to Anfield for a tribunal-set fee of £3million…

Widespread media reports on Tuesday, including by the well-sourced Liverpool ECHO, claim Liverpool are close to concluding their first piece of summer transfer business after beating the likes of Celtic and RB Leipzig to Chelsea striker Dominic Solanke.

The highly-regarded England U21 international, who is currently participating at the U20 World Cup in South Korea, is out of contract this summer after rejecting a new deal at Stamford Bridge amid concerns over a lack of first-team opportunities.

Transfer rules mean clubs must be compensated for the loss of players under the age of 24 in such circumstances, so Liverpool are required to pay a fee despite the player’s contractual situation. If the two clubs involved fail to reach a mutual agreement then a transfer tribunal will decide the figures involved.

According to the Guardian, Solanke has already agreed terms on an Anfield contract worth just under £20,000-a-week.

The 19-year-old will begin life on Merseyside as part of Liverpool’s U23 setup but is expected to follow the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn, Ovie Ejaria and Harry Wilson and quickly challenge for regular first team involvement, particularly in cup competitions.

As Solanke is over 17 and signing a professional contract, the club’s current transfer embargo – which applies to signing academy players from other English league clubs for two years – does not apply.

The Reading-born forward had been with the Blues since 2004 but made just one senior appearance as a substitute in a Champions League tie against NK Maribor in October 2014.

In addition to firing Chelsea’s youth team to consecutive FA Youth Cups and a UEFA Youth League title, Solanke scored seven goals in 25 appearances for Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem during a loan spell in 2015/16.

He has represented England at all youth team levels from U16 upwards and was the tournament’s joint top scorer when the Three Lions won the 2014 UEFA European U17 Championship.

Vital Comment
If it hadn’t been for his contractual stand-off I’m pretty sure Solanke would have featured in some capacity for Chelsea last season after his impressive spell in the Eredivisie. Their loss is most certainly our gain though because anyone who has seen the youngster play will acknowledge that he is a player of immense talent. In addition to an obvious eye for goal, Solanke has a great work ethic and impressive technical ability. As well as playing up front, he can operate effectively in a deeper role as a support striker or out wide. All of which makes him highly suited to Jürgen Klopp‘s style of play and for £3million the purchase seems a no-brainer regardless of how it ultimately pans out.

Likelihood (out of 5):

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