The Daily Record has recently reported that Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is confident about his chances of snapping up Liverpool centre-forward Dominic Solanke on a loan deal this month. The English youngster currently finds himself behind the likes of Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, and Danny Ings in the Anfield pecking order. Hence, it makes sense for the 20-year-old to move on and gain some valuable game time while on loan at the Ibrox Stadium this season under the caring leadership of someone like Gerrard.
Since his arrival from Chelsea last summer, Solanke has struggled to find the back of the net on a consistent basis with the limited amount of first-team opportunities that he has managed to receive at Merseyside so far. At just 20, the English prospect still has a long way to go before he can establish himself in Jurgen Klopp’s first-team.
With Gerrard looking to lure him to Glasgow this summer, here is a detailed scout report.
The Rise Of Dominic Solanke
The Reds starlet graduated from the Chelsea academy and had played in every youth level at the West London club. The Pensioners decided to send him out on a season-long loan to Vitesse in the summer of 2015, where he excelled scoring seven times in 25 matches in the Dutch Eredivisie. He came back looking to make his mark in the Chelsea senior team but had to settle for a place in their Under-23 squad.
The Liverpool scouts were quick to notice his talents and were successful in signing Solanke last summer. The Basingstoke-born forward went on to make 27 appearances for the Merseyside giants in all competitions in the previous campaign with one goal and three assists to his name.
Is Solanke ‘The English Divock Origi’?
There has been a frequent discussion amongst football fans recently that Solanke is slowly turning out to be ‘the English Divock Origi’ and vice versa. So let’s take a look at whether there is any truth to that statement.
Solanke came through the youth ranks at Chelsea and had played for just three clubs in his career so far. Moreover, he only has one international cap for the English national team but has been a prolific goal-scorer for his country at every youth level.
Comparatively, Origi is three years older than him and had spells with four different clubs. He is vastly more experienced at both club and international level. The Belgian made a name for himself while playing for his nation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup but has struggled to find consistency in recent campaigns.
Hence, we can conclude that Solanke might be in the same boat as Origi with regards to the fact that both of them have failed to get into the first team under Klopp at Anfield. However, the English forward has age on his side and is more of a centre-forward than Origi, who can also operate on the flanks.
Strengths And Weaknesses?
The English talent is a complete centre-forward and is very well-rounded in every aspect of his game. Solanke is moderately paced and can dribble with the ball out of tight areas. He is also quite the poacher in front of goal and has the instincts of a natural born striker as evidenced by his goal-scoring record for the Three Lions youth teams. The 20-year-old also operates like ‘a fox in the opposition box’ as he can be aerially dominant and can score with both feet or his head. He also has enough strength to hold up the ball and involve his teammates around him.
However, there is a slight flaw in Solanke’s game. The English prodigy is not at all versatile which means that he can only play in one position, i.e. as a centre-forward up top. Moreover, the fact that he is so well-rounded implies that he does not excel in a specific category which makes it hard for him to catch the eye. There is room for improvement in every facet of his game, so if he can manage to develop himself into a goal-scoring machine, then the future is bright for the 20-year-old Liverpool youngster.
Pace – 7.5/10
Moderately paced and can make clever turns to beat opposition defenders.
Dribbling – 7/10
Has the agility and ball-control to go past defenders but lacks composure and the temperament to be useful in the final third.
Physicality – 6.5/10
Can hold up the ball well, has a good leap and can score with his head. Needs to work on his upper body to flourish in the Premier League.
Shooting – 6.5/10
Has a goal scorer’s instincts and can finish with both feet. Lacks shot power and accuracy to hit the target from a distance.
What Can He Bring To Gerrard’s Side?
The Gers manager has shown that he is not afraid to mix it up in the five matches that he has taken charge so far. However, his favoured formation remains 3-4-2-1, so if the Liverpool legend is willing to change his system, then he can incorporate Solanke into his team. Otherwise, it is hard to see how the English striker can secure a place in Gerrard’s first XI with a player like Alfredo Morelos almost guaranteed a start every week.
On a loan deal, it would not hurt the Teddy Bears to opt for Solanke’s services, but the Ibrox Stadium might not be an ideal destination for the English starlet to secure regular first-team minutes next season.
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