USMNT prospect Slonina seals £12.3m Chelsea transfer

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Chelsea have completed the signing of Gabriel Slonina from the Chicago Fire, with the highly-rated teenager who has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in MLS being lined up as a possible future starting goalkeeper for Premier League heavyweights.

At just 18, Slonina is being acquired by the Blues as part of a long-term recruitment plan that sees them building towards success at Stamford Bridge over a number of years.

Slonina will form part of that process, with his career path seemingly set to take him to the very top of the game.

How much have Chelsea paid for Gabriel Slonina?

Chelsea will pay up to £12.3 million ($15m) to sign Slonina if all add-ons are met, with that deal representing a new record for an American goalkeeper.

The youngster will be joining a number of compatriots in England once he officially joins the ranks in west London, with USMNT custodians Matt Turner, Zack Steffen and Ethan Horvath already tied to Premier League sides Arsenal, Manchester City and Nottingham Forest respectively.

The likes of Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and Chris Richards have also completed moves to the English top-flight this summer ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Chelsea have fended off rival interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Wolves to bring in Slonina.

“We’re very proud and happy to see Gaga reach this milestone moment in his career,” said Chicago Fire FC sporting director Georg Heitz in a statement. “Since joining the club, Gaga has embodied what it means to be a Chicago Fire player. In addition to his incredible talent, he is mature beyond his years, extremely hard working and a fantastic teammate.

"Gaga is a role model to many young aspiring footballers in Chicago, and this transfer demonstrates that a player can progress to the first team from our academy before joining one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

What is the length of Gabriel Slonina’s contract at Chelsea?

Slonina has penned a six-year contract with the Blues, with his signing keeping one eye very much on the future.

He will not link up with Chelsea until January 2023 as the deal taking him to England includes a loan agreement that will keep him in the United States for the remainder of the current MLS campaign.

Why have Chelsea signed Gabriel Slonina?

Slonina only made his professional debut in August 2021, becoming the youngest MLS starting goalkeeper in the process.

He has been a regular ever since, allowing admiring glances to be attracted from afar.

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There is an opportunity for him to head to west London with another piece of history under his belt, with Slonina currently in the process of trying to set a new MLS clean sheet record.

He has 10 shutouts to his name so far, with seven more required from 11 games in order to raise a bar of individual brilliance between the sticks.

Will there be more transfer business at Chelsea this summer?

Chelsea have now spent over £100m ($122m) in the summer transfer window, with big-money deals already completed for Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.

There is the promise of more movement in and out before the next deadline passes, with the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Hakim Ziyech and Armando Broja being linked with moves elsewhere.

Spain international keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is said to be close to joining Napoli, and the arrival of Slonina could clear a path for him to move on, as Edouard Mendy remains Thomas Tuchel’s favoured No.1.

On the incomings front, the Blues continue to be linked with Paris Saint-Germain centre-half Presnel Kimpembe, while Leicester star Wesley Fofana has emerged as another defensive target.

There has been talk of Inter right-back Denzel Dumfries being pursued if squad spots open up, with Allan Saint-Maximin and Endrick among the other exciting talents to have seen switches to Stamford Bridge speculated on.

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