Gabriel Slonina: Chelsea in pole position to sign USMNT goalkeeper

Chelsea are in pole position to sign talented Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, 90min understands.

Still only 18 years old, Slonina has enjoyed a remarkable rise since the latter half of the 2021 MLS campaign, keeping nine clean sheets in 24 appearances and making the No.1 spot his own at Soldier Field.

At international level, Slonina has already been called up to the United States Men's National Team (USMNT) on multiple occasions - though he's yet to be capped - as well as being offered the chance to join Poland's squad for the latest round of UEFA Nations League games. Slonina rejected that chance in favour of pledging himself to the USMNT.

His form has also drawn comparisons to the iconic Gianluigi Buffon from USMNT legend Tony Meola.

In January, 90min revealed that clubs from across Europe had been showing serious interest in Slonina, with the player's representatives even heading to England to begin talks with Premier League clubs.

Real Madrid emerged as a frontrunner for the goalkeeper's signature but had an offer rejected by the Fire, with the Spanish and European champions having a counter-offer sent their way.

But 90min can confirm - also reported by Tom Bogert and Fabrizio Romano - that Chelsea are now in pole position to sign Slonina, getting far closer to Chicago's valuation of the player than Los Blancos. Multiple sources have stated Chelsea's offer is the best one on the table and that a deal is now expected to be completed.

The fee for Slonina will eclipse the $6m Arsenal recently paid for fellow USMNT stopper Matt Turner, who will arrive from the New England Revolution this summer.

As part of the transfer, Slonina will be loaned back to the Chicago Fire, with one source stressing that playing time was always a careful consideration when deciding the player's future.

Source : 90min