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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Chelsea close in on summer signing with Thibaut Courtois roadmap to be followed by Todd Boehly

  Gabriel Slonina is not a young man who lacks self-belief. It's why he was able to establish himself as Chicago Fire's first-cho...

 

Gabriel Slonina is not a young man who lacks self-belief. It's why he was able to establish himself as Chicago Fire's first-choice goalkeeper at just 17 years old; why he hasn't played down comparisons with Manuel Neuer and Gianluigi Buffon; why Chelsea are hopeful of signing the American this summer.

Real Madrid have also shown an interest in bringing Slonina to Europe. Bayern Munich and Wolverhampton Wanderers too. Yet it's Chelsea, under American ownership as of a fortnight ago, that are leading the race for the young goalkeeper, who does not celebrate his 19th birthday until next year.

Slonina isn't set to join the Chelsea first-team squad this summer should he complete a switch, however. The expectation is he remains with Chicago on loan for the remainder of the 2022 campaign. After that, a decision will require as to what his next step will be.

Chelsea have, of course, been down this road before with a young, talented goalkeeper. In the summer of 2011, the Blues completed the signing of Thibaut Courtois from Genk for £7.9million and then loaned him out to Atletico Madrid for three seasons to gain vital top-level experience.

The Belgian blossomed into one of Europe's finest goalkeepers in the Spanish capital, returned to Chelsea in the summer of 2014, displaced club legend Petr Cech, and went on to win the Premier League title in his first season.

Further trophies followed before he departed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2018 in a rather acrimonious fashion. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Slonina is still very much in the formative years of his senior career; there is a long road ahead of the teenager.

And to get greater insight into the American stopper's career to date and what may come next, we put a few questions to MLS expert Tom Bogert. Here's what he had to say.

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