Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina is officially a member of Chelsea, though the USMNT teenager will head back to Chicago Fire on loan for the rest of the 2023 MLS season.
Slonina, 18, makes it three American goalkeepers on “Big Six” Premier League sides after Man City’s Zack Steffen, currently on loan to Middlesbrough, and new Arsenal signing Matt Turner (New England Revolution).
The transfer is a club record for Chicago and sees the U.S. youth international signing a six-year deal with Chelsea.
Slonina is eligible to represent Poland and the USMNT but has so far rebuffed the former’s advances in the hopes of representing his home country.
Chicago is two points back of Major League Soccer’s final Eastern Conference playoff spot, currently held by Cincinnati. A playoff berth would be its first since 2017 and just its third since 2009.
“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 playoffs and compete for a championship.”
Honoured to join such a massive club with so much history. It’s a privilege to wear the badge of the best side in London.
Thank you to all the fans for the warm welcome. Can’t wait to get started.💙 @ChelseaFC pic.twitter.com/YmShsm1yYj
— GAGA (@GabrielSlonina) August 2, 2022