Dominic Solanke’s contract stand-off has been a story rumbling along in the background for almost a year, with the first reports emerging at the end of last season about his supposed outrageous wage demands.
Back in April, it was the Telegraph who reported that Solanke and his father/agent were demanding a new contract to the tune of £50,000 per week. That story no longer seems to exist on the Telegraph’s website, but at the time, was widely picked up. Here’s, for example, a report in the Metro.
With the narrative set, Solanke’s contract demands evolved into a contract stand-off and instead of going out on loan again (or joining the first-team, even), the 19-year-old was kept back with the development squad with the odd first-team training or bench appearance. Solanke spent last season at Vitesse, so this was definitely a step back for him.
But were those demands even real? Possibly not. Or perhaps not anymore. On Thursday, the Telegraph printed an apology for alleging these outrageous contract demands, though they cited a story from last month as opposed to last year. And we know they’ve been claiming this since last year!
“On 18 February 2017 we published an allegation that Dominic Solanke was demanding wages of £50,000 per week from Chelsea Football Club as part of his contract negotiations. We understand that no such financial demands have been made by Mr Solanke and we are happy to make this clear.”
Solanke jumped on Instagram to post a screengrab as well, captioning it “don’t believe everything you read”.
Does this mean that there’s been a softening in demands, perhaps from both sides in these negotiations? Possibly. Have Chelsea been caught red-handed trying to gain leverage? Possibly. Or does this mean that Solanke’s agent wants to make it clear to other possible suitors for Solanke’s services that he would agree to a smaller salary? Also possible. Solanke has been increasingly linked with various English and European teams in a potential summer move (for a fee likely to be set by a tribunal), but none of those rumors claimed that the other teams would be willing to meet the supposed £50k demands.
Perhaps what it does mean is that Solanke and Chelsea may yet work out a new agreement (just like we did with Ola Aina at the eleventh hour last summer) and the striker can resume his previously highly promising development and career.