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As he was unveiled as a Watford player just a week before the season kicks off, Nathaniel Chalobah was naturally quizzed on a wealth of topics.
The reasons behind his move to Vicarage Road, why he left Chelsea and his England prospects going forward were all discussed. But, when talks moved toward his former team-mate Dominic Solanke, conversation slowed.
“I don’t really know what to say…I don’t want to speak too highly of him as we have got him in a week!” said Chalobah.
But surely, in a market where transfer fees are going through the roof, Liverpool have nabbed a bargain in prising Solanke away from Chelsea.
“Yeah I think so, definitely,” said Chalobah with a wry smile.
“Dom is a fantastic player. He is a good guy first of all and he has got some ability. He is a good guy and he’s a friend of mine.”
Liverpool are likely to be forced to pay some sort of fee for Solanke due to the fact the striker is under 24.
If any player who is under that age moves having reached the end of his contract, than a compensation fee for the individual will be determined by a tribunal.
It is a regular occurrence in football and Liverpool had to undergo the same procedure when they signed Danny Ings from Burnley two years ago.
Reports over what the Reds will play for Solanke vary from £3m to £10m but either way, in one of the most inflated markets in history, Chalobah is right in believing his old team-mate is a bargain.
Chalobah knows all about Solanke’s talents from the pair’s time together at Chelsea, where they were part of the club’s exceptionally successful youth side.
However, like Chalobah, Solanke has now opted to leave Stamford Bridge after finding his route to the first team blocked.
It is a familiar story for youngsters at Chelsea and one that has been particularly highlighted this summer given the exodus from west London.
Nathan Ake has joined Bournemouth for £20m, while Chalobah and Solanke’s decision to leave permanently rather than on loan further emphasises the issue.
Chalobah even rejected the offer of a new and improved contract at Chelsea as he felt he needed to leave to get the football he craved.
“For me personally that was my decision, I felt I needed to go out and get the experience,” says Chalobah.
“I can only speak for myself in this situation, but for me I felt like now was the right time.”
It is likely a similar thought process is what motivated Solanke to fly the nest this summer too after refusing to sign a new contract.
Despite helping Chelsea win back-to-back FA Youth Cups and being named England Youth Player of the Year in 2015, the 19-year-old was never really given a chance to show he could make the step up to the first team at Stamford Bridge.
Instead last season it was Diego Costa who continually led the line for the eventual Premier League champions, with summer signing Michy Batshuayi also struggling for minutes.
At four years Solanke’s senior, Batshuayi’s plight will have surely been a warning to the 19-year-old who opted to move to Anfield.
Given Jurgen Klopp’s record of offering youngsters an opportunity at both Anfield and Borussia Dortmund, the switch makes sense for the ambitious Solanke.
Indeed, when the England under-20 international was unveiled he explained as much.
“As a young player you always want to see your club pushing through their young players and hoping you can do the same,” Solanke told LFC TV.
“I’m quite good friends with Joe Gomez, I’ve known him from quite young, and obviously Ovie [Ejaria] and Sheyi [Ojo] who were with us at the World Cup.
“I think Liverpool have got a lot of good young players, so hopefully everyone can play their part. We spoke a bit and they’ve only got good things to say, so I’m looking forward to enjoying it with them.
“As a young player all you want to do is reach your full potential, so to have good players around you and a good manager to help that will be really good. I just want to make an impact. Hopefully when I get my opportunity I can take it and help the team.”
Solanke has certainly been given the chance to state his case in pre-season and has impressed when given the opportunity.
For someone so young, the striker leads the line exceptionally well and given Daniel Sturridge’s previous injury problems he could get more chances as the campaign progresses.
Liverpool will, for the first time under Klopp, be fighting on two fronts this season as they battle for glory in the Champions League and Premier League. The German manager’s all-action style means all members of the squad will be required and this too should fill Solanke with optimism going forward.
He may have not been given his chance at Chelsea but, under Klopp, Solanke will finally get the opportunity to firmly establish himself as one of the most promising forwards in England.