Chelsea have finalised the signing of Chicago Fire stopper Gabriel Slonina for an undisclosed fee.
The West London giants found themselves in competition with the likes of Wolves and Real Madrid for the teenager’s services at the start of the year.
Such was the level of Real’s interest that representative Jaime Garcia claimed at one stage that Slonina was likely to make the move to the Bernabeu.
However, the 18-year-old stopper has instead opted to secured the services of a six-year deal with Chelsea, the young keeper seemingly identified as the eventual successor to Edouard Mendy.
Slonina will spend the rest of 2022 campaign on loan at his current MLS club as he looks to continue the progress that he has made since the start of the year.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 2, 2022
Chicago Fire have recently undergone somewhat of a resurgence to move into eighth position in the Eastern Conference standings.
Slonina has been a vital player of their team this campaign, conceding only 28 goals during his 23 games in the MLS.
In total, Slonina has kept 13 clean sheets in that division, his progress having previously earned him a call-up to the United States national team.
Slonina is set to start life at Stamford Bridge back in January 2023, although it is unclear whether he will immediately challenge for a place in the first-team team.
The Blues are allegedly in the process of securing a loan exit for second-choice stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who may link up with Napoli later this month.
Should that prove to be the case, head coach Thomas Tuchel will enter the market for another backup to challenge with Marcus Bettinelli.
Confirmation of Slonina’s signing came just hours after the Blues took the transfer market by surprise by announcing that they had a contact in place to secure the services of Aston Villa prospect Carney Chukwuemeka.
The 18-year-old is now due in London to finalise personal terms and undergo a medical, the deal expected to represent Chelsea’s fourth signing of the summer.