With the 2016/17 season done and dusted, you would think that the action at the Kirkby Academy has been significantly few and far between, but this week has been arguably its busiest week yet.

The Reds have begun their summer business as they start preparations for the 2017/18, with the club making a few new signings as well as current players penning new deals.

The major news to come out of the club this week was that Liverpool have agreed in principle to sign Chelsea U23s forward Dominic Solanke, with the striker moving to the Reds on 1 July after his current Chelsea contract expires.

Solanke, 19, was offered a new deal by Antonio Conte’s side, but after signing his first professional contract in 2014, he turned down the three-year extension.

Solanke is currently playing for England U20s at the World Cup alongside his new team-mates Ovie Ejaria and Sheyi Ojo, with the fee for his signature being decided by a tribunal.

READ MORE: Liverpool prepared to smash their transfer budget multiple times this summer

The striker has recently returned from a season-long loan spell at Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem, where he scored seven goals in 26 appearances after scoring 15 goals in 24 Chelsea U23s games.

ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND – Thursday, May 7, 2015: Chelsea’s Dominic Solanke celebrates scoring the fourth goal against, his third completing his hat-trick during the Under 21 FA Premier League match at the Recreation Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Patrik Raitanen is another player to sign for the club after agreeing a deal in principle last summer. The Finnish defender, 15, has signed a four-year contract alongside U18s Head Coach Steven Gerrard and Academy Director Alex Inglethorpe, and will go straight into Gerrard’s squad for next season.

Raitanen currently plays for FC Jazz, and the Finland U16 youth international will link up with his new team-mates at the Kirkby Academy on 1 July.

Raitanen will be joined at Liverpool next season by Norwegian starlet Edvard Tagseth. Tagseth, 16, originally signed a pre-contract agreement in 2015, but this week the midfielder completed a deal by signing a contract at Kirkby this week.

READ MORE: Liverpool and Mohamed Salah have agreed personal terms

Before joining the Reds, Tagseth has been plying his trade in the Norwegian Fourth Division side FK Neset, with the Norwegian FA’s Head of Development comparing him to Martin Odegaard.

The fourth new signing for the Academy this week is Bosnian youngster Dal Varesanovic, who will officially join the club this week.

Liverpool reportedly agreed a reported £43,000 for the youngster from FK Sarajevo, beating the likes of Barcelona and Dinamo Zagreb for his signature.

Varesanovic had to wait until his 16th birthday to sign with the Reds, and the left-footed midfielder is expected to link up with Steven Gerrard’s U18s for the new season.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND – Friday, March 31, 2017: Liverpool’s academy coach Steven Gerrard looks on as the Under-18’s take West Ham United during an Under-18 FA Premier League Merit Group A match at the Kirkby Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One player that is set for the exit door is U23s forward Jack Dunn, who has joined National League side Tranmere Rovers on a free transfer.

Dunn, 22, had a loan spell with the Tranmere at the end of last season, making seven appearances helping his side reach the National League play-off final, but Rovers suffered a 3-1 defeat to Forest Green.

Despite having additional loan spells with Cheltenham, Burton Albion, Cheltenham Town and Morecambe, Dunn failed to make a significant impact to warrant a new contract with the Reds.

Overall, Dunn scored 13 goals in 39 Premier League 2 appearances for Liverpool U23s, and will join up with Micky Mellon’s side for the new season.

However, a current Liverpool player that will be staying for the years to come is U23s goalkeeper Andy Firth.

Firth, 20, has progressed through the U18s and into the U23s this season, but failed to make a single league appearance, with Kamil Grabara, Caoimhin Kelleher and Shamal George being preferred.

The goalkeeper is currently undergoing his UEFA ‘B’ coaching licence and had a loan spell in non-league football earlier last season.

Written by Scott Taylor 


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