Illinois native and Chicago Fire keeper Gaga Slonina is looking ahead to his future at Chelsea
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Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gaga Slonina is relishing the ‘pressure’ of the Premier League with MLS club already eliminated from playoffs… as Chelsea’s $15m signing looks forward to working with Graham Potter

The Chicago Fire are already eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs. With that the case can anyone blame keeper Gaga Slonina for already looking forward to his jump across the pond?

Having already agreed to a move with Chelsea set to take place once the season ends, Slonina will be leaving his home state of Illinois for a bigger and tougher league.

The Blues spent a reported $15 million to bring the goalkeeper to London in one of the most expensive moves for a MLS academy product ever.

Slonina joins Chelsea in January of 2023, but to hear it from him, it can’t come soon enough. The London-based club reportedly beat out Real Madrid to get his signature.

Illinois native and Chicago Fire keeper Gaga Slonina is looking ahead to his future at Chelsea

Illinois native and Chicago Fire keeper Gaga Slonina is looking ahead to his future at Chelsea

The U.S. international signed for $15 million with the Blues and joins the London club in 2023

The U.S. international signed for $15 million with the Blues and joins the London club in 2023

‘I’m super excited just to be in that environment and see what it’s like in the Premier League,’ Slonina said on an episode of The Call Up podcast. 

‘How the coach acts when we win, when we lose, what’s the locker room look like? Just that level of pressure, I can’t wait to be in there and be in that environment because I think you’re going to learn from every single person there.’

Slonina set the record for the youngest player to start an MLS game at 17 years and 81 days old. He put up 16 clean sheets in 43 games for the Fire and was named to MLS’s 22 under 22 list for this year. 

His willingness to move to Chelsea all stemmed from the vision presented to him by members of the club’s development staff. That staff worked under Thomas Tuchel before he was sacked earlier this month. In his place enters Graham Potter, who Slonina is also excited to work with.

‘The path that they showed me and presented me while I was talking to them was something I really liked,’ said Slonina 

‘They really focused on a player’s development and making sure they’re seeing the right things, playing games and getting minutes. Because obviously for a young goalkeeper, that’s super important. 

‘You can train a lot, but you still have to see those game minutes and everything. I was drawn to the fans, to the location of where it’s at. And it’s Chelsea, so it was a no-brainer.

Despite his enthusiasm to play for the Blues, it’s highly likely he’s loaned out – with Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga in front of him.

Slonina was named to MLS's 22 under 22 list this year - earning 12 clean sheets this season

Slonina was named to MLS’s 22 under 22 list this year – earning 12 clean sheets this season

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