Of Chelsea’s vast squad of first-team players, development squad hopefuls, and loan system warriors, a grand total of four (4!) have contracts expiring at the end of this season.
Third-choice goalkeeper Eduardo and academy graduate Alex Davey are basically footnotes to the season, while club legend John Terry has been in this situation many times before. Whether he stays or not might entirely depend on whether he’s ready to retire. But then there’s young Dominic Solanke, and his situation might be the most intriguing of all.
Solanke, once the most promising goalscorer in the Academy with 41 goals in 39 games in 2014-15 (and a Chelsea senior debut at 17), has practically disappeared off the radar (he’s made the bench three times so far this season for Conte). After a decent loan spell at Vitesse last season, he’s spent most of the current one in the development squad, embroiled in a contract stand-off with the club that started way back in April of last year. It’s this impasse that supposedly prevented any loan moves this season, with the club unwilling to send him out unless he agreed to something a little less than his £50,000 per week demands.
There seems to be very little progress, if any, that’s been made in talks with the 19-year-old since, and so the latest rumors (even if they’re from The Sun) are anything but surprising.
According to their report, which is starting to spread to other tabloids and outlets, Liverpool are ready to pay an expected £8m transfer fee (set by a tribunal due to the player’s age) to snap up Solanke on the cheap, just like they’ve done with Danny Ings or Chelsea once did with Danny Sturridge. While Liverpool wouldn’t be silly enough to match Solanke’s demands either, he’s supposedly open to the move for one reason or another and would favor it over a move to Celtic, who are also interested.
That would be an unfortunate ending to the Solanke story at Chelsea, a club he joined before age 8.