TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Report
Real Madrid, fresh off winning this year’s UEFA Champions League and La Liga titles, are preparing a bid for Chicago Fire FC homegrown goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, per a report from Fabrizio Romano.
The 18-year-old is regarded as arguably the top goalkeeping prospect worldwide, reportedly earning interest from Premier League side Chelsea earlier this year. He’s also drawn comparisons to all-time great Gianluigi Buffon.
While Romano didn’t specify a proposed transfer fee, it’s striking to see a club of Real Madrid’s caliber linked with an MLS-developed player who’s got a remarkably bright future. As reported by MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert, Slonina may be loaned back to Chicago through the 2023 MLS season should a deal be agreed upon this summer.
Romano's report comes 10 days after Slonina committed his international future to the United States, sharing “my heart is American” amid heavy recruiting efforts from Poland, his parents’ home country. He awaits his senior-team debut for the USMNT.
Since becoming Chicago’s starting goalkeeper late during the 2021 season, Slonina has nine clean sheets across 25 matches. He’s been a bright spot for the Fire, who are bottom of the 2022 season’s Eastern Conference and league tables entering the June international break.
Should Slonina head to Real Madrid, it’d be one of the highest-profile outgoing moves in the history of MLS academies. Based on club destination, others in that ballpark include Alphonso Davies from Vancouver Whitecaps FC to Bayern Munich and Giovanni Reyna from New York City FC’s youth system to Borussia Dortmund.
Slonina would also join several USMNT goalkeepers at some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Zack Steffen part of Premier League-winning side Manchester City after coming through the Columbus Crew. Meanwhile, Matt Turner will soon join Arsenal after progressing at the New England Revolution.
Real Madrid’s starting goalkeeper is Belgian star Thibaut Courtois. In recent years, they’ve also had Spanish all-time great Iker Casillas and Costa Rican legend Keylor Navas between the sticks.