As we reported first, nearly two weeks ago, Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, 18, has agreed to join Chelsea FC as the two clubs reached agreement on a transfer fee of $10 million.
That is the base transfer fee, as performance-based incentives and add-ons could bring the total to $15 million when all is said and done. Chicago Fire Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson was very coy on the details, but he did verify, just a couple hours ago that Slonina is very close to finalizing the deal.
Gaga Slonina is going to #Chelsea, a source closely connected to the Chicago Fire FC organization told me, firsthand, directly, on Sunday.
This elongated transfer narrative is nearing conclusion. #cf97 #vamosfire #ChelseaFC #chelseaintheusa
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) July 18, 2022
Hendrickson said he couldn’t discuss the details of the transfer yet, as it needs to be run through all the lawyers first, but he did verify this- Slonina will remain with the club until the end of the 2022 Major League Soccer season. (That’s October, possibly November, Chelsea fans)
As we reported on July 18, Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina will stay with the Fire for the remainder of their campaign, as he will have joined Chelsea but will essentially be loaned back to Chicago.
At least that’s how it will work in a de facto sense. Slonina and his agent will now fly to London to undergo his medical and finalize the paperwork.
“There’s something close but nothing has been signed yet,” Hendrickson responded when asked about Gaga Slonina and his future following his side’s goalless draw (yes, again, yet another 0-0) with Atlanta United tonight.
“So, I can’t really speak on that but there’s something very close to happening with that.”
Further pressed on the topic, later on in the postgame press conference, Hendrickson was asked about Slonina’s immediate club future.
‘I don’t really know the full details of it, but I know Gaga will be with us for the rest of the year,” he answered.
“But you know, something is very close to happening and I think the kid deserves it. But there’s no signature yet or anything so I really can’t speak on details as far as that goes. But I’m happy for the kid and it shows that we have some good talent, some good young talent here in this organization.”
With yet another nil-nil draw, the Fire have now kept 11 clean sheets in their last 15 regular season home matches. This now equals the most shutouts at home in a 15-match span in MLS history.
That’s what happens when Gaga Slonina is your No. 1, and Chelsea are certainly getting a great prospect that they can groom for the future. He becomes the west London club’s third signing of the summer, behind Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly. Earlier this week, Chelsea officially missed out on their top transfer target, Jules Kounde, who officially joined Barcelona.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks