Chelsea aren’t exactly an exemplary club when it comes to fostering the development of youth players from academy level to senior football.
Since Roman Abramovich began injecting a portion of his vast fortune into the transfer market in 2003, the Blues have often favoured signing established stars over giving their youngsters first-team opportunities.
That’s not to say Chelsea haven’t invested in youth since the Russian arrived with his blank chequebook. In fact, the construction of their state-of-the-art Cobham training complex reportedly cost a staggering £20 million.
The facility has since helped produce numerous talents including Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ola Aina, Lewis Baker, Charly Musonda and Nathan Ake to name a just few.
However, while most of those aforementioned players have earned at least one senior appearance for Chelsea, their prospects of achieving a regular starting birth is slim at best.
Dominic Solanke is one Blues youngster who has shown flickers of potential to break into the first-team squad.
The 19-year-old has been dubbed as one of the most promising young strikers in English football having scored goals for fun at youth level for both club and country.
If his reputation isn’t ringing any bells, Chelsea fans may remember him as the virtual unknown who demanded the club offer him a stunning £50,000-per-week upgraded contract earlier this season.
With the two parties yet to agree on new terms, the ongoing situation has put the rest of the Premier League – including one of the Blues’ main rivals – on high alert.
The Sun reports Solanke has told friends he wants to join Liverpool when his current Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season.
The Reds could be forced to pay compensation in the region of £8 million as a tribunal will be required to determine an appropriate fee for the teenager.
While Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to match his expected salary from earlier in the season, Solanke could be tempted to trade west London for Merseyside due to the more favourable chances of regular football on offer.
The England youth international bagged seven goals in 25 Eredivisie appearances while on-loan at Vitesse during the 2015-16 season.
It seems Antonio Conte has little interest in throwing Solanke – or any other Chelsea youngster for that matter – into his squad at this stage of the season.
With 16 wins in their previous 20 outings in all competitions, the Italian’s current preferred starting line-up is undoubtedly one of the most difficult to break into in world football – not least for inexperienced youngsters.
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