According to the Chelsea correspondent Nizaar Kinsella of the Evening Standard, Chelsea are exploring options to loan out Gabriel Slonina during the January transfer window with a move to a European or a Championship club being a possibility for the 18-year-old wonderkid. Signed from MLS side Chicago Fire this summer, Slonina was loaned back to the American outfit to complete out the 2022 MLS season before moving to west London at the start of 2023.
The Illinois-born keeper also has an outside chance of making it into the USMNT team for the World Cup with head coach Gregg Belharter keeping a keen eye on his progress. Such an opportunity to represent your country at the age of 18 doesn’t quite come too often and it will gather more attention from clubs in the January window to loan the teenager. A move to the Championship is seen as the “most likely” option according to the Evening Standard report which will help Slonina get accustomed to the English game and gain valuable experience in the second division before becoming a Chelsea regular.
The recent resurgence of Kepa Arrizabalaga has made the Chelsea board and Graham Potter ponder on the goalkeeper situation since the latter took over the reins at the club in September. The Spanish goalie has started all of Potter’s 9 games so far for the Blues in all competitions while also keeping 7 cleansheets in those games. Edouard Mendy, the Chelsea no.1, was suffering from a hip injury paving way for Kepa to get his opportunity back in the first team and the 28-year-old has grabbed it with both hands. He is the goalkeeper with the highest save percentage in the Premier League with a phenomenal 91.3% save percentage for the Blues.
Slonina’s arrival in the summer meant Marcus Bettinelli’s place as the no.3 in the goalkeeper roster is in danger and the slump in form seen in Edouard Mendy’s performances also are a concern for Graham Potter with the long-term project in mind. Mendy who will turn 31 next year and Bettinelli who is 30 years old will be entering the twilight years of their careers and a huge reshuffle could be on the cards next summer. With the change in the entire recruitment and transfer structure for the Blues, it will be quite intriguing as to how the Blues will deal with the goalkeeping situation and whether Slonina will become the no.1 within a year or two.