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Chelsea sign 18-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire

First look at Gabriel Slonina in an orange Chelsea goalkeeping jersey

Chelsea have announced the signing of American goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire for £12 million, as previously reported on FootballToday.

It is a record sale for the American club. Fire will also get a percentage of any future transfer fee Chelsea receive for Slonina (aka Gaga).

The youngster has signed a six-year contract before returning to the Major League Soccer side on loan to complete their season. He will return to join Chelsea on January 1.

Slonina was linked to Real Madrid, but the London club moved ahead in the race to sign the promising youngster.

He was tracked by former director Petr Cech and ex-goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon before they left the club.

There were fears a deal could collapse due to the change in ownership, but the new administration have decided to seal the deal.

Slonina progressed through the Fire academy and is the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS game after making his debut at 17 years and 81 days in 2021 against New York City FC.

He made four saves in that game to record the first of his 13 clean sheets in the MLS.


Speaking to Chicago Fire’s website, Slonina said: “I joined this club with ambitions of playing at the highest level and it’s been a dream come true to wear the Chicago Fire jersey.

“This club has become my second home, my second family, and there are so many people that have played a big role in helping me get to where I am today.

“I’m so thankful for all the support that I’ve received from my family, coaches, teammates, and everyone associated with the club. It’s been an incredible honour to work alongside each one of you.

“To the fans, I want to thank you all for supporting a local boy from Addison. You have inspired me to work my hardest day in and day out.

“I promise that I will continue to give everything in these final 11 games to help get us back into the play-offs and compete for a championship, and there are so many people that have played a big role in helping me get to where I am today.

“I’m so thankful for all the support that I’ve received from my family, coaches, teammates, and everyone associated with the club. It’s been an incredible honour to work alongside each one of you.”

Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz added: “We’re very proud and happy to see Gaga reach this milestone moment in his career.

“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.”

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