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Chelsea completed signing of £5.5m Chicago Fire star before crippling sanctions hit



Chelsea hijack Arsenal's £45m bid to sign prolific player

Chelsea were all set to complete the signing of promising young goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, 17, from Chicago Fire before they were blocked from making transfers

Chelsea had reportedly agreed a deal to sign Chicago Fire youngster Gabriel Slonina before Roman Abramovich’s crippling sanctions hit.

The UK Government froze the assets of the Blues owner earlier this month, meaning the Stamford Bridge hierarchy are currently unable to sign players. Talks with the MLS side for goalkeeper Slonina, 17, have broken down as a result, per transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.

He tweeted: “Chelsea were in advanced talks to sign talented Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina [born in 2004]. The plan was to sign Slonina for €6/7m (£5/5.8m) fee, then loan him back to Chicago until 2023. Talks have now broken down due to UK sanctions.”

Slonina established himself as first choice for Chicago towards the end of their 2021 season. And he has got off to a flyer at the start of the 2022 campaign, which will only further frustrate Chelsea.

In the opening four games he has conceded just one goal following two 0-0 draws and 2-0 and 3-1 victories. Despite his tender age, Slonina stands at 6’4″ tall in between the sticks.

Gabriel Slonina #1 of Chicago Fire makes a save in the second half against the Sporting Kansas City at Soldier Field on March 19, 2022
Restrictions placed on Roman Abramovich have caused Slonina’s move to be halted

His performances in the league earned him a first call up to the USA squad in January. He has rapidly rose through their youth ranks and largely bypassed his way to the senior squad.

However, the shot stopper is also eligible to represent Poland. Speaking to the MLS official website last year, Slonina said: “I strive to want to be the greatest goalkeeper in the world. So I think I’m just going to keep putting in that work, making sure I take the right steps toward that direction every single day.”

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