Gaga Slonina, real name Gabriel Slonina, has announced his departure from the Chicago Fire to join Chelsea FC. Slonina, 18, joins the Fire for a $10 million transfer fee, making him the most expensive player ever sold.
With add-ons, that figure could rise to $15 million, and regardless of the final figure, Slonina is the youngest player in Fire history to be sold to a big five European league. We first reported on this transfer over two weeks ago, and both clubs made official announcements today.
“I joined this Club with ambitions of playing at the highest level and it’s been a dream come true to wear the Chicago Fire jersey,” reads a statement attributed to Slonina, who choose the USMNT over Poland for this international affiliation.
“This Club has become my second home, my second family, and there are so many people that have played a big role in helping me get to where I am today. I’m so thankful for all the support that I’ve received from my family, coaches, teammates, and everyone associated with the Club.
“It’s been an incredible honor to work alongside each one of you.”
The young shot-stopper will stay with the club until the end of the MLS season, and he’ll become a part of the London club on January 1. Slonina continued on, shouting about his hometown of Addison.
“To the fans, I want to thank you all for supporting a local boy from Addison,” he added.
The suburbanite is one of many homegrowns making an impact for the Fire this season.
“You have inspired me to work my hardest day in and day out. I promise that I will continue to give everything in these final 11 games to help get us back into the playoffs and compete for a championship.”
The statement from Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson reads as follows:
“It’s been incredible to see Gaga’s continued growth on and off the field during my first season with the club
“His talent has been on full display, but I’ve been most impressed by his mentality and his willingness to constantly add more to his game at such a young age.
“This transfer speaks to the talent that exists within the Club and our philosophy toward developing young players. Gaga fully deserves this opportunity and we look forward to finishing the 2022 season with him on a high note.”
Added Chicago Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz (who will meet the media tomorrow to discuss this transfer in more depth;
“We’re very proud and happy to see Gaga reach this milestone moment in his career.
“Since joining the club, Gaga has embodied what it means to be a Chicago Fire player. In addition to his incredible talent, he is mature beyond his years, extremely hard-working, and a fantastic teammate.
“Gaga is a role model to many young aspiring footballers in Chicago, and this transfer demonstrates that a player can progress to the first team from our Academy before joining one of the biggest clubs in the world.”
Welcome to Chelsea.