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We knew this day was coming. It was always the plan.
Long before we knew the exact details–that Addison’s Gaga Slonina would be signing with Premier League powerhouse Chelsea FC for $10 million plus another $5 million in add ons–we knew he wouldn’t be around for very long.
Less than one year after making his first MLS start for the Chicago Fire, Slonina is now headed to west London. It’s the third largest transfer fee in history for an MLS homegrown player, and by far the largest transfer ever for the Fire.
Chelsea fans, you’re getting a good one.
Sure, Gaga is the best goalkeeping prospect on the planet–his 10 clean sheets in just 23 games this season is remarkable for a player who just turned 18. But, more importantly, he’s humble. Hardworking. Kind. Friendly. Positive. He’s everything you could want in a human, and in talking to him, you immediately forget he’s so young. He’s mature beyond his years.
Slonina is finishing the season here in Chicago (in fact, he’s already back here and is expected to play this weekend in Charlotte), and then he’ll be headed your way. Will he eventually be the No. 1 at Stamford Bridge? We can’t be sure. Playing at the top end of the Premier League for a perennial Champions League contender is a tall order for any goalkeeper. But I will say this: I wouldn’t bet against him.
Gaga won’t arrive in west London thinking he’s already made it. He’ll keep his head down, and will work for your club in whatever capacity he’s asked. If you send him on loan (and, let’s be honest, you’re Chelsea, that’s what you do), he will work his hardest for his loan club, with an eye toward returning to Chelsea as a stronger player.
Take care of Gaga for us. We’ll see him when he returns for international duty with the United States, but in a few short months he’ll spend the majority of his time in your hands. We’ll wake up early to watch his games, but he will be your player.
Sure, Chelsea is familiar with Americans. In Christian Pulisic, you have one of our best. But Gaga’s not just any old American. He’s from Chicago. He’s one of ours. Treat him well, and he’ll work his ass off for you.
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