All this talk surrounding Dominic Solanke potentially coming to West Ham United is a bit absurd. Besides being linked to a new team every two days, he’s leaving to get playing time, not to sit on the bench behind bigger names. That fact alone eliminates the majority of Premier League teams from contention. Now let’s throw in Solanke feels he should be earning £50,000 a week, that rules out West Ham United. But hey, let’s buy in. Let us pretend Dominic Solanke is on the top of Tony Henry’s buying list. Pack your bags, we’re going down a rabbit hole.
Antonio Conte announced in February Dominic Solanke’s “will” is to leave Chelsea. Which is understandable. Chelsea have made a bad habit of signing tons of youth players from around the globe, only to loan them out like cattle to milk farms. As policy dictated, Solanke joined Dutch club Vitesse on a season-long loan for all of 2015. While he did make a few scratch starts here and there, he was a 70+ minute specialist. To his credit, Solanke did find the back of the net five times in 25 appearances.
West Ham United’s attacking woes has been painfully documented all year round. So much so, we hardly mention it anymore. It’s just a given, an axiom of Hammer life. Andy Carroll will be injured and West Ham will struggle to score. The question becomes, can Dominic Solanke fix that? Of course, nobody could say with complete absolution who will break out and who will not. We can only use the data and information we have in front of us. So what if I told you, Dominic Solanke and Ashley Fletcher were the exact same player?
Both players stand at 6 feet, 1 inch. Both players are 170 pounds (soaking wet). Physicals aside, they have the same type of attacking playstyle. Solanke might be the better dribbler, but Fletcher has him beat in physicality. They are, in fact, so similar that FIFA can hardly separate them in their ratings. Fletcher has been called up and scored for the U20 England international team. Oh my, so has Dominc Solanke! Lastly, both players have come from world class youth systems and were stuck behind world class names.
These two players could not be any more similar if they were genetically engineered in David Moyes’s illegal footballer engineering factory.
The only way this move makes any sense for West Ham United is if Ashley Fletcher is totally out of favor with Slaven Bilic. Let’s take a look at last week’s match against West Brom. Andy Carroll was out with a groin strain so Bilic started Michail Antonio on top. When Antonio was understandably getting destroyed in his new found role of a center forward, who did Slaven call on to replace him? Jonathan Calleri! Wait, what? You mean to tell me, with Ashley Fletcher on the bench, Bilic tapped Calleri. Reasonably, we can assume this is the new striking pecking order for Slaven:
Carroll > Antonio > Ayew > Calleri > Fletcher
If that is, in fact, the totem pole Slaven Bilic hangs his hat on - Ashley Fletcher might be in real trouble.