Chelsea's long and desperate search for their next established academy star has left them in a weak negotiating position with regards to one of their brightest prospects.
John Terry, who is likely to leave the club this summer, is the only established player to have come through the youth system despite Roman Abramovich investing millions in the academy over the last decade.
Dominic Solanke was one of those tipped to emulate Terry's rare achievement and become a first-team regular. However, according to the Telegraph, his outrageous demands in contract talks have left his future at Stamford Bridge in serious doubt.
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The striker has reportedly demanded as much as £50,000-a-week as well as guarantees over his first-team involvement before extending his current deal. With just 12 months left on his contract, it has left Chelsea officials fretting over his future.
Solanke, 18, is one of the best young strikers in the country but has made just one senior appearance for the Blues and has spent this season on loan to Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem.
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Having seen Chelsea let talented starlets wilt away on similar loan arrangements, Solanke's father, who is acting as his agent in negotiations, wants to know his son will get a clear route to the senior squad.
That, of course, is a fair demand to make, but the money he wants is verging on extortion. Solanke's father knows Chelsea can ill afford to let an English product leave for a rival club and is clearly hoping to take advantage.
Held to ransom
But Chelsea feel as if they are being held to ransom and will not submit to the demands, leaving talks at an impasse. While they know Solanke has the potential to be an international striker, they do not want to hand him a huge contract when his future at the top of the game is far from guaranteed.
Harry Kane, who is a strong contender for the Premier League golden boot, currently earns £50,000-a-week in context and that is sure to be used as a guideline when talking Solanke down.
And Kane's path to the Tottenham first-team will also be cited. The England international was three years older than Solanke when he first emerged as a senior player at White Hart Lane and endured four different loan spells before finally being given a chance.
Though no longer in charge of the club, Jose Mourinho pointed to the problem emerging when negotiating deals with young players, saying parents and agents are regularly leading them astray.
He said last year: “When the players are almost there and are in the process to be almost there, parents and agents think they are already there and they make the players think they are there, and they are not there.
"So instead of thinking about money during a career, they think about money before a career starts and everything gets every confused. That doesn't help the players because the players need stability.”
Solanke, who has been with Chelsea since he was seven, has naturally attracted interest from rival Premier League clubs, although that interest is sure to fade away if his demands remain equally as high.
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