Dominic Solanke is clearly a cut above the youth league in England and abroad, but probably still too raw for the big stage. So the question is, what should Chelsea do next with this fine young talent?
It is evident Jose Mourinho rates him highly along with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has already been promoted to the first-team. Based on how the season has progressed and where Solanke is with his development here are two different options for his career.
Option 1: Stay with Chelsea
Before the season started Mourinho named three players and stated that if they didn’t make the England squad in the future then he would be the one to blame. Those three players were: Izzy Brown, Lewis Baker and Dominic Solanke (the youngest of the three).
Being touted by Jose even before the season started clearly had a great effect on the young man and this season his game has been taken to a higher level than ever before. The future looks bright and there is nothing saying that the yet to turn 18-year-old Englishman can’t follow the path of youth team-marte Loftus-Cheek who never moved on loan and instead had his development with the first-team squad.
Obviously at the tender age of 17 he is way to young to truly impact the first-team squad, but training every day with them while getting the occasional game or two would be tremendously beneficial for Solanke.
Naturally, he will still play with the youth squad, but most of his development would take place with the first team. This would ensure he develops the Chelsea way and be molded into the perfect Mourinho player, which is something he has all the attributes to succeed at.
Option 2: Go on loan
Clearly Solanke is already above the level of the youth leagues and his talent would be better exploited playing at a higher level. The Championship is obviously a level too high for him, but why not League One?
Lewis Baker played at League One the past season with MK Dons and had a truly important contribution. Judging Solanke by his games with the youth team, he is at the same level at which Baker was before he headed to MK Dons on loan, so there is nothing saying he cant have the same impact as Lewis did.
Another option would be Vitesse Arnhem, Chelsea’s sister club. Bertrand Traore just spent the season there, where he was one of the stars in the Dutch league every weekend, but is obviously already too good to continue there.
Nevertheless, if Traore were to leave the club there would still be familiar faces as fellow Englishman Josh McEachran has also been plying his trade there and the club is looking to extend his stay. The presence of McEachran would allow young Solanke to have a fellow Englishman to help him settle and focus on his game with no distractions.
With Bertrand leaving, it would be the perfect opportunity for Solanke to replace the outgoing Burkina Faso star and take the goalscoring burden himself. This is an experience that would obviously do a world of good to Solanke, who at Chelsea would face much greater pressures week in and week out.
Obviously there is no perfect formula to develop a young player and what works for one may not work for the other, so Dom’s next move should be carefully analyzed before taking action.
Solanke is too much of a talent to be wasted on pointless loans only to earn a profit. Looking at Mourinho’s comments it seems as if he is not destined for the cash generator, but instead has been earmarked as one for the future that will certainly have an impact on the squad.
Chelsea fans: Do you think Dom Solanke has what it takes to become a future first-team star at Stamford Bridge? Where do you think he should go next season? Have your say below...