English Premier League giants Chelsea are among clubs that have inquired with Chicago Fire FC about a potential transfer for rising US youth international goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, sources confirm.
Fabrizio Romano was the first to report on interest from the reigning UEFA Champions League title-holders.
Chelsea are facing sanctions due to the club being owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, meaning talks have broken down. A deal between Chicago and Chelsea for the 17-year-old homegrown wasn't agreed upon anyway, per a source.
Sources added a number of other clubs in Europe have reached out to the Fire about a potential move for Slonina. It's widely expected any transfer would be contingent upon Slonina staying with the Fire through the 2022 MLS season, their first under head coach Ezra Hendrickson.
The market for Slonina is robust, as he's among the world's brightest teenage goalkeeping talents, even being likened to a young Gianluigi Buffon. Multiple Premier League clubs considered making bids on deadline day in January, though no official offers arrived.
Slonina is already the unquestioned starter in Chicago with 15 MLS starts under his belt, a spot goalkeepers rarely find themselves in at such a young age. Slonina has kept three clean sheets over the first four games of 2022 (seven for his career), conceding just one goal.
“We don’t really talk about it much with my agent,” Slonina told Extratime earlier in March when asked about transfer rumors. “I’m usually just telling him how I’m feeling every single day. We have such a good connection about that type of stuff. I know he’s working his hardest for me and I’m working my hardest to continue to get those offers. … I like to keep all that stuff out and just focus on the next game because obviously the next one’s the most important.”
Eligible for both the United States and Poland, Slonina was part of the United States squad for Concacaf World Cup qualifiers during the January/February 2022 window. He wasn't named as part of the current roster, facing competition from Zack Steffen, Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson and others.
Slonina was recently named to Goal.com’s NXGN 2022 list recognizing the top 50 players born on or after January 1, 2003.