Chelsea to snap-up US wonderkid Gabriel Slonina in £12.25m transfer with 18-year-old going back to Chicago Fire on loan
CHELSEA are reportedly closing in on the signing of Chicago Fire’s teenage keeper Gabriel Slonina.
The 18-year-old American shot-stopper is set to join the Blues in a £12.25million move after putting pen to paper on a six-year contract which will run until June 2028.
He completed his medical on Monday, with everything agreed between the clubs and player.
But, as reported by Fabrizio Romano, he will remain at Chicago Fire on loan for the time being.
Slonina has started all 23 of the MLS side’s league matches so far in the 2022 campaign.
And he has kept an impressive 10 clean sheets this season, with Chicago sitting eighth out of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference.
He is yet to be capped by the US national team, but has made two appearances for the U20 side.
Chelsea currently boast three keepers in their squad – Edouard Mendy, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Marcus Bettinelli.
But Bettinelli, who is Thomas Tuchel’s third choice option between the posts, will be out of contract next summer.
And that could pave the way for Slonina to become the Blues’ reserve shot-stopper.
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The American will be Chelsea’s third signing of the summer after the acquisitions of Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.
But Tuchel has claimed he still does not feel his side are ready for the upcoming Premier League season – which kicks off against Everton on Saturday.
Chelsea were beaten by Arsenal and Charlotte FC during pre-season.
And following their tour of America, Tuchel said: “It was a pretty long pre-season.
“Tiring and exhausting to be in the US for so long, and having to travel again today under the circumstances is not so easy, pretty demanding.
“After this weekend we prepare for nothing else other than Everton. The season is right in front of the door. There is a lot of positive stuff but we need to improve.
“We are not ready yet. We don’t have to be ready yet. We have another week and then it is time to be on the best level. It is always nice when the season arrives.
“We will have this week. There is still some way to go.”