Gabriel Slonina: Real Madrid’s new target

Gabriel Slonina, the American goalkeeper who turned 18 in May, has been approached by Real Madrid with the player a target for the European Champions.

Slonina, who plays for MLS team Chicago Fire, is a U-20 international with the United States and has emerged as one of the revelations of the championship.

The 18-year-old is regarded as arguably the top goalkeeping prospect worldwide, reportedly earning interest from Premier League side Chelsea earlier this year. He’s also drawn comparisons to all-time great Gianluigi Buffon.

Born outside of Chicago in 2004, the 18-year-old is eligible to represent either the U.S. or Poland, but earlier in May announced his commitment to the USMNT despite receiving a call-up from Poland for June.

Fabrizio Romano has reported Real Madrid’s interest, and Slonina fits the profile of the modern goalkeeper, that is to say, close to two metres tall (1.93 centimetres), robust and possesses good ball skills.

Since becoming Chicago’s starting goalkeeper late during the 2021 season, Slonina has nine clean sheets across 25 matches. He’s been a bright spot for the Fire, who are bottom of the 2022 season’s Eastern Conference and league tables entering the June international break.

Should Slonina head to Real Madrid, it’d be one of the highest-profile outgoing moves in the history of MLS academies. Based on club destination, others in that ballpark include Alphonso Davies from Vancouver Whitecaps FC to Bayern Munich and Giovanni Reyna from New York City FC’s youth system to Borussia Dortmund.

Slonina would also join several USMNT goalkeepers at some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Zack Steffen part of Premier League-winning side Manchester City after coming through the Columbus Crew. Meanwhile, Matt Turner will soon join Arsenal after progressing at the New England Revolution.

The fans are surprised because it is very rare seeing Real Madrid linked with an American international, and they are excited at the same time because of the keeper’s immense potential.

This is the second keeper Real Madrid is looking to sign this summer, having signed the ‘next Casillas’, Ferran Quetglas, for the academy. Even Slonina might be a signing for Castilla, as their current keeper, Toni Fuidias, is expected to leave Castilla.

Real Madrid is expected to be a busy club this summer, and they are into business already, having signed Antonio Rudiger with only an official announcement remaining. They are trying hard to secure the signing of Aurelien Tchouameni, and there is a high possibility that the transfer might be a successful one.