Gabriel SloninaGetty Images

Chelsea remain keen on USMNT goalkeeper Slonina but face Real Madrid competition

Gabriel Slonina will soon make a decision on his future, with Chelsea and Real Madrid interested in signing the Chicago Fire goalkeeper. 

The 18-year-old had come close to signing for the Blues in March but sanctions on former club owner Roman Abramovich caused the deal to collapse. 

It has seen Madrid enter the fray as a contender for his signature, and a decision is expected to be made within the next fortnight. 

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Who is Chelsea target Slonina?

Europe’s superpowers have been watching Slonina since he became the youngest starting goalkeeper in the United States’s top league at just 17 years and 81 days old. 

Since then, he has made 25 senior appearances and has just turned 18, allowing him to move to the United Kingdom due to his joint-US and Polish nationality. 

That duel nationality meant he was at the heart of a battle for his future eligibility with Poland calling him up for the upcoming Nations League matches. 

In a statement, the Addison, Illinois-born shot stopper explained why he would opt to play for his country of birth.

"Being Polish means being extremely hard working, having faith, never taking no for an answer, pushing through hard times, and taking care of your family. I love everything about my heritage, from the people to the food, to the cities. I am also extremely grateful for being given the possibility to play for Poland," he said.

"With that being said, my heart is American. This country has given me and my family all the opportunities I could ask for. It’s pushed me and supported me through good and bad.

"I understand the privilege of wearing the badge, and the only time I’ll put my head down is to kiss it. America is home and that’s who I’m going to represent."

What else is happening with Chelsea’s goalkeepers?

Kepa Arrizabalaga could leave Chelsea and has been linked with a move to Newcastle, who appear to be targeting a new No 1.

The Spain international has grown disillusioned at Stamford Bridge toward the end of the season, having been left out of cup matches despite playing in many of them last season. 

The Blues will also have to make a decision on the future of Hull City loanee Nathan Baxter who earned rave reviews in the Championship. 

The 23-year-old is keen to make it in west London but has only one year left on his contract and enters pivotal talks over his future. 

"I always do my best when I am sent out on loan and I want to put in the performances to show that I am good enough," Baxter told GOAL last month.

"It is my dream to play for Chelsea one day. Whether it is this summer or not, I don't know. They will bring me into the building and we'll have to wait and see.

"The next step could be going back to Hull, and why not? I love the place and the fans really supported me. Whatever the decision is, I will keep my head down and work as hard as I possibly can."

His future could well be impacted by any decision to sign Slonina, with Hull and West Brom among those interested.

There's also been major change at Chelsea with the head of the goalkeeping department Christophe Lollichon recently leaving the club.

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