Chelsea wins Gaga Slonina sweepstakes

Gabriel Slonina, the Chicago Fire's 18-year-old goalkeeper, has been transferred to Chelsea for a base transfer fee The Athletic's Paul Tenorio reported to be $10 million. Add-ons could make the total payments reach $15 million.

Slonina will remain with the Fire on loan through the end of the 2022 MLS season.

Slonina was born to Polish immigrants and grew up in the Chicago suburb of Addison. He joined the Chicago Fire youth system at 10 years old and signed a Homegrown contract when he was 14.

He made is first MLS start with the Fire at the age of 16 on Aug. 4, 2021. The match with NYCFC ended in a 0-0 draw, making him the youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to earn a shutout.

Slonina's stats over the last 12 months:

2021: 11 games, 16 goals allowed (1.45 GAA), 4 shutouts.
2022: 23 games, 28 goals allowed (1.22 GAA), 10 shutouts.

He said it was a dream come true to play for the Fire.

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

Breaking into the Chelsea lineup won't be easy.

Senegalese national team star Edouard Mendy is the No. 1 keeper. The backup is Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga, signed for a transfer fee of $95 million in 2018. Kepa's big contract makes it difficult for other teams to consider acquiring him even if Chelsea might be willing to take a loss on his transfer. Until Slonina is 21, he will be exempt from FIFA's new rules regarding the number of players a team can loan out in a season.

Slonina played for U.S. youth teams, was approached by Poland about playing for its senior national team but committed his international future to the USA in May.

He was not released for the 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Men's Championship but would be, right now, the No. 1 choice for the 2023 Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia and 2024 Olympics in France.

7 comments about "Chelsea wins Gaga Slonina sweepstakes".
  1. R2 Dad, August 3, 2022 at 1:46 a.m.

    Other than the money, is it more worth it to sign for the biggest clubs early in their career? I'm sure Slonina believes he's done the best thing for himself, but how has this worked out for Miazga? Sargent? Steffen? Yes, it's on a case-by-case basis, but what are the best/most prepared young players doing?

  2. frank schoon replied, August 3, 2022 at 7:07 a.m.

    R2, you're so right

  3. R M replied, August 4, 2022 at 9:41 p.m.

    This kid has a bigger upside than all the guys R2 listed. Different / better player!  As a high ceiling player he will have better long term opportunities than the others, all of whom are solid but not on a world class trajectory. 

    chelsea is set to move Kepa and the kid can sit behind Mendy and or be loaned out in the meantime. As Chelsea transforms to a moneyball team and pursues more value-add players over the next decade this could be a very good move for Gaga to be their #1 in 3-5 years. 

  4. Matt Cardillo, August 3, 2022 at 8:53 a.m.

    Agree, but the right loan-out would be fine. Hasn't worked for Miazga. Maybe he ends up in a Tim Howard setting.....given a shot at Chelsea but then loaned or eventually sold to mid-table club. The good news is that Slonina and his reps have the opportunity to learn from others' mistakes....or paths.

  5. Del_Cat_6 6, August 3, 2022 at 9:57 a.m.

    Mendy's 30- not 24

  6. Jim Young replied, August 3, 2022 at 3:25 p.m.

    Good catch. That's a miss in this article BUT that said Mendy is arguably the best GL going these days.

  7. humble 1, August 3, 2022 at 11:23 a.m.

    Saves to shots on goal as in hockey is the key keeper stat.  Wish the young man a lot of luck, he beat the odds by comming out of Chicago area which has not been a top producing area or club.  Polish are great fans of international football so I am sure
    this was key for the young man in his journey.  Wherever he goes he must get - both - good coaching and guidance - and - lots of games.  Say what you want about MLS and even Fire, but they got the kid games.  Chelsea has new ownership -
    but - they no longer have - Petr Cech.  Slonina is far beyond where Miazga was or is today - other than the Chelsea pathway - they have zero
    in common.  Best of luck

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications