Who is Slonina and why are the big clubs interested in him?

Major League Soccer has had a long reputation as a “retirement league” for decades, but lately, that have been producing young and talented players who are currently plying their trade in Europe. Alphonso Davies, Miguel Almiron and Tyler Adams, all former MLS players, have been displaying some good play with their respective teams in the Top 5 European leagues. Gabriel Slonina, the current 18-year-old Chicago Fire goalkeeper, is not only going to join that list soon but also going to keep the USA-to-Europe trade lively.

Who is Gabriel Slonina?

Standing at 6-foot-4, Slonina made his debut for Chicago Bulls in 2021 at the age of 17. Not only he was the youngest goalie ever to debut in the league, but he also kept a clean sheet against a difficult opponent like NY City by making four brilliant saves across the game. Since then, he has made 24 appearances for the club, keeping 9 clean sheets and gathering the attention of every big club in the world right now.

Image Credits: marca.com

Who are interested in Slonina?

Real Madrid recently made the opening bid for the player but was rejected pretty quickly. Chelsea jumped into the race to sign him and made an offer which, according to many reliable sources, was the best one on the table for Chicago outfits. Real Madrid can catch up with the dealings, but they believe there is still time, although it’s pretty unlikely as the player is getting closer to London with every passing day.

How good is Slonina?

The bigger question, however, is what makes Slonina so unique and what deal suits best for him. The 18-year-old is tall and confident. He is an excellent shot-stopper and instead uses hands instead of feet while blocking a shot. He reads the rival’s attacking threat well and knows how to position himself and react well on time.

His wingspan is more expansive than any regular keeper in the game, which allows him to trust his hands and dive for corner shots. His technique is appropriate. He might not give you the vibes of a modern keeper, but on his day, he can be a real difference-maker.

Image Credits: MLS

Does he have any weakness?

According to our research, one can easily spot two or three. His handling is not sound, and hence instead chose to punch the ball. Conceding on a rebound would always be a risk with him between the sticks. Therefore defenders must have to act quickly in clearing the ball out of the danger zone. Besides, he needs to improve his functioning in set pieces and ball distribution, although he can do it given the age he is.

That is why it is essential for him to realise that any big team he joins this summer, he would not be a starter. The mechanism with goalkeepers works differently in football, as managers prefer experienced men to protect the post. So don’t be surprised to see him getting loaned out as soon as getting transferred into a big club. Since the most important thing for him is to get minutes- to improve his game and refine his weaknesses. Stay Tuned with The Sportsway for more updates.

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