Nearly a year after Liverpool signed 20-year-old, out of contract striker Dominic Solanke from Chelsea’s academy, the issue of the fee to be paid remained up in the air, with the two sides long expecting to go to tribunal to decide on the final fee.
It came as some surprise, then, to learn today that the two sides had reached an agreement that is expected to see Liverpool pay Chelsea somewhere between the £3M they wanted to pay for the player and the £10M Chelsea were hoping to get for him.
However, according to The Liverpool Echo, the club aren’t willing to say exactly how much the fee is—just that it’s been agreed. In time, that may come out, but for now, that it’s likely less than £10M but more than £3M is probably about as close as we’ll get.
It’s also worth remembering that had the case gone to tribunal, Solanke’s fee would have been decided entirely based on what the player did while still at Chelsea while giving no consideration to the promise shown by his first season at Liverpool.
Last season, Solanke made 21 league appearances—mostly off the bench for about six and a half games of playing time—and scored a goal and assist. The top line return wasn’t great, but compared to Liverpool’s other options his underlying numbers show promise.
Last season, Solanke played about as many minutes as Danny Ings has over the last two seasons—and for everything bar actually converting his chances (per Understat)—he looks a far more impressive player while being five years younger.
Compared to Divock Origi, Solanke’s one Liverpool season put next to to the three Origi has been on the books for the club (which go back to when he was 20, the same age as Soanke is now) the difference is similarly, and perhaps unexpectedly, stark.
None of which is to say Solanke is the long-term answer. There’s the kind of clear promise to his game, though, that shows why Liverpool signed him—and why he’s expected to get the chance to be second choice to Roberto Firmino this season.
And, whatever comes next for Solanke and Liverpool, at least now the club and player can put any uncertainty concerning fees and tribunals behind them.