Liverpool have agreed a deal with Chelsea’s 19 year old striker, Dominic Solanke. The Basingstoke born forward will cost around £3m once a tribunal decides how much compensation the Reds owe the Blues for his football education to this point.
As is customary around here, I’ve taken a quick look at his stats to see what they tell us. Needless to say there’s not too much to go on, but he did spend the 2015/16 campaign on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, so I’ve compiled the numbers to see if anything stands out.
A common way to look at a player’s stats these days is via a radar, and using this online template, I made the following one for Solanke.
It doesn’t look too impressive, but let’s be realistic. He made his first three appearances before he’d even turned eighteen, and he was playing for a mid-table side overseas, so it would be foolish to expect too much. To be playing in a decent league at that age is an achievement in itself; only four players aged eighteen or younger made an appearance as a forward in Europe’s top five leagues this season, and they can’t all be Kylian Mbappe. The Eredivisie may not be in the top leagues, but as Vitesse are currently ranked by Euro Club Index as roughly equal standard as Hull City, it’s not hopelessly adrift of the elite level by any means.
That’s before you get to the recent online debate about the merit of radars too:
The above radar template is also for both attacking midfielders and forwards, and does seem to penalise strikers. For instance, Solanke averaged 1.0 key passes per 90 minutes played, which is at the bottom of that particular leg of the radar, yet only eight players averaged more in the Premier League when playing as a forward this season.
Solanke also created three clear-cut chances this season, which is the same as Eden Hazard managed this season (believe it or not), so could easily have had more than a single assist.
Away from the radar stats, the young forward scored seven goals against an expected goals tally of 6.4, meaning that his performance rated as 1.09; in other words, he scored 9% more goals than we might expect. Of course, he couldn’t score 0.4 of a goal if he tried, but it’s still a better performance than the likes of Aguero, Firmino, Sturridge and Rooney managed this season.
This is a signing based on potential, and whilst it’s not an exciting thing to consider, whatever happens with this guy at Liverpool they will definitely make a profit on him, and probably a decent one regardless. It’s smart transfer business which might turn out to be fabulous transfer business; that’s 100% fine by me.