Gaga Slonina has joined Chelsea on a six-year contract before returning to the Chicago Fire on loan until January.

The 18-year-old has established himself as the most exciting young goalkeeper in MLS since making his Fire debut last August.

Then 17, Slonina became the youngest goalkeeper to start a match in MLS history as he kept a clean sheet in a draw with New York City FC.

Slonina has gone on to keep 13 clean sheets in 34 appearances and is Chicago's first-choice keeper, playing every minute of the 2022 campaign.

The United States youth international, who rejected a senior call-up from Poland in May, will play out the rest of the season in Illinois ahead of joining a pool of Chelsea goalkeepers that includes Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea have reportedly paid an initial £8.2million ($10m) for Slonina, although that fee could increase to £12.3m ($15m).

Fire sporting director Georg Heitz said in a statement: "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 team-mate.

"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."

Slonina added: "I joined this club [the Fire] with ambitions of playing at the highest level, and it's been a dream come true to wear the Chicago Fire jersey.

"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, team-mates and everyone associated with the club. It's been an incredible honour to work alongside each one of you."

Chelsea are hoping to raid Leicester City for both Wesley Fofana and Jamie Vardy during this transfer period, with the former reportedly telling the club he wants out, while the latter's contract is set to expire in 12 months.

Fofana, 21, has emerged as one of the most valuable young defenders in the Premier League despite missing most of this past season with a broken leg. He has represented France's Under-21s, and appears on track to a long international career at the senior level.

Vardy, 35, has scored at least 13 goals in each Premier League season since 2014-15, and if he indicates he has no interest in signing a new contract to stay in Leicester, this transfer window will be their last opportunity to cash-in on the club legend.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA SET SIGHTS ON DYNAMIC LEICESTER DUO

While Vardy will likely have a significant say in his future due to his contract situation, the same cannot be said for Fofana, who recently signed an extension that ties him to the club through 2027.

90min reports both Chelsea and Manchester United are monitoring Vardy's situation, with the thought that he could potentially be a relatively cheap replacement option after Romelu Lukaku was shipped out on loan to Inter, as well as Timo Werner having one foot out the door.

There is no word about an asking price for Vardy, but according to ESPN, Leicester are adamant Fofana is not available at any price, despite previous rumours that they value him at £85million. 

Meanwhile, the Mirror claims that since the Stamford Bridge side's interest became clear, the centre-back has been actively pushing for the move to Chelsea, and he has removed any mention of Leicester from his social media pages.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports is reporting that Sampdoria have accepted Brentford's £16.7m bid for 22-year-old Danish midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard.

– According to 90min, if Tottenham cannot secure Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo, they will switch attention to Wolves winger Adama Traore.

– Football League World is reporting Sevilla and Wolves will battle it out for the signing of 23-year-old striker Ben Brereton-Diaz from Blackburn Rovers.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Sevilla are also interested in United full-back Alex Telles, who is said to be behind both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia in the club's pecking order. 

– The Guardian is reporting Chelsea are interested in Southampton's Kyle Walker-Peters, and that an offer between £35m and £40m could get the deal done.

Bernd Leno swapped London clubs as the Germany goalkeeper left Arsenal to join Fulham on Tuesday in a move that could rekindle his World Cup prospects.

The 30-year-old sealed a move in a reported £8million deal, having lost his Gunners first-team place to Aaron Ramsdale last season.

He joins Fulham, who return to the Premier League in the new campaign, becoming the latest addition to Marco Silva's squad ahead of a season that gets under way at the weekend.

Fulham host last season's runners-up Liverpool on Saturday at Craven Cottage.

Leno, who did not feature in Germany's squad for Nations League games at the end of last season, has won nine caps for his country, but the hold of Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer on the national team number one jersey has meant opportunities have always been limited.

The new recruit has signed a three-year contract with Fulham and told the club's FFCtv channel: "It feels amazing to finally be here. I can't wait to join the team, to train and play with the team.

"I'm relieved that everything is done. I'm just happy to be here. It took a little bit of time but in the end we made it, and that's the most important thing."

Former Bayer Leverkusen shot-stopper Leno said he had enjoyed "four amazing years" with Arsenal.

He played 49 first-team games in the 2020-21 season and featured 125 times overall during his Emirates Stadium career, but a mere eight appearances last term indicated his time was up at Arsenal.

His most recent Germany appearance came in the 2-0 win over Liechtenstein last September, Hansi Flick's first game as national team boss.

Milan have announced the signing of promising attacker Charles De Ketelaere from Club Brugge.

The 21-year-old Belgium international has signed a five-year-deal with the Serie A champions and joins for a reported fee of €36million.

De Ketelaere – who scored 18 goals in all competitions last season and has won eight senior caps for Belgium since his 2020 debut – had also been strongly linked with Premier League side Leeds United.

At 19 years and 224 days old in October 2020, he became the second-youngest Belgian to score in the Champions League (behind Anthony Vanden Borre) when he netted for Brugge against Zenit St Petersburg.

De Ketelaere will wear the number 90 shirt, and joins fellow new arrivals at San Siro Divock Origi, Alessandro Florenzi and Junior Messias, with the latter two making their loan moves from last season permanent.

Chelsea have agreed a deal reportedly in the region of £15million with Aston Villa for England Under-19s midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka.

Villa have allowed the 18-year-old to travel to London in order to discuss personal terms before undergoing a medical. 

He featured 12 times for Villa in the Premier League last season, with 10 of those appearances coming off the bench.

Austrian-born Chukwuemeka played a key role for England as they won the 2022 European Under-19 Championship at the start of last month, scoring three times in five games, including an extra-time goal in the 3-1 final win over Israel.

Chukwuemeka now makes the move to Stamford Bridge, where he will look to earn minutes in a midfield that already features the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and World Cup winner N'Golo Kante.

Chelsea are also close to the signing of Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gaga Slonina.

Fire coach Ezra Hendrickson said at the weekend there was "something very close to happening", although the 18-year-old keeper is set to return to MLS on loan until January.

Brighton and Hove Albion left-back Marc Cucurella – a prominent target for Manchester City – is also reportedly in line for a move to Thomas Tuchel's side.

Sergio Aguero does not understand why Manchester City sold Raheem Sterling to Chelsea, while also suggesting Erling Haaland will need time to adapt to the Premier League.

City sold Sterling to Chelsea for a fee in the region of £45million last month, with the England international following fellow forward Gabriel Jesus out of the exit door and to London, with the latter having joined Arsenal along with Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Sterling scored 17 goals in all competitions for Pep Guardiola's team last season, a tally only bettered by Riyad Mahrez (24) and Kevin De Bruyne (19), as they conducted a successful defence of their title, but wanted guaranteed game time that City were unable to offer.

That, in part, was due to the signing of Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, while Julian Alavrez has also arrived to bolster a prolific frontline that features Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Mahrez.

Yet Sterling's former team-mate and City's record goalscorer Aguero was confused by the decision to sell the 27-year-old to a Premier League rival.

"I don't understand the sale of Sterling," said Aguero on his Twitch channel.

"There are times they [City] make strange decisions."

Haaland struggled on his competitive City debut, cutting a frustrated figure as Pep Guardiola's team went down 3-1 to Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday.

The Norway international only managed three touches in the opening 30 minutes, all of which came in his own half, and he missed the best chance of the game from open play, according to Opta's expected goals model, when he struck the crossbar from six yards out deep in stoppage time.

"He was too used to Germany," Aguero said of the 22-year-old's performance.

"Haaland thought he was alone, then [Virgil] van Dijk arrived and said 'welcome to the Premier League'."

Alvarez did however impress, coming on from the bench to add a different dimension to City's attack and dragging them level when he bundled in from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

Asked what advice he gave to his compatriot when Alvarez signed for City, Aguero quipped: "Julian sent me a message to find out how life is in Manchester. I told him that he was going to be very cold!"

City start their Premier League campaign away at West Ham on Sunday, while Sterling will likely receive his competitive bow for Chelsea at Everton a day earlier.

Timo Werner has only managed 23 goals in his first two seasons with Chelsea after joining from Leipzig in mid-2020.

The new Blues owners are open to allowing Werner, who signed on a five-year contract, to depart on loan.

The 26-year-old scored 95 goals in 159 appearances with Leipzig from 2016 to 2020.

TOP STORY – LEIPZIG LEAD RACE FOR CHELSEA'S WERNER

Leipzig are leading the race to sign Chelsea striker Werner ahead of Juventus, claims Fabrizio Romano.

The Bundesliga club met with Chelsea on Sunday, proposing a swap deal for Werner, who is Leipzig's main target.

Juventus and Newcastle United have also shown an interest in the Germany international. 

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are considering a move for Leipzig defender Angelino should they miss out on Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso, claims Diario Sport.

Everton could make a move for forgotten Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi, according to talkSPORT. The Toffees lost Richarlison to Tottenham last month and will turn to Batshuayi, who scored 14 goals on loan at Besiktas last season.

– Portuguese forward Diogo Jota is set to be rewarded for his strong second season at Anfield, with Liverpool to offer him a lucrative pay rise as part of a new deal, despite having three years to run on his contract, claims The Telegraph.

Napoli and Chelsea are in talks on a loan deal for Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, according to Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Leicester City have informed Newcastle that midfielder James Maddison will cost them £60million as they circle for his signature.

– Leicester City are set to farewell goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel,  who is on the cusp of joining French Ligue 1 club Nice, reports the Mail.

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey has signed for Ligue 1 side Nice after being released by Juventus.

The 31-year-old joins as a free agent less than a week after agreeing to terminate his contract with the Bianconeri, with Nice yet to disclose the length of his deal.

Ramsey spent three years with Juventus, joining in 2019 after his contract at Arsenal expired, but he struggled to establish himself in Italy and made just three Serie A appearances last season before joining Rangers on loan.

He featured seven times for Rangers in the Scottish Premiership, but his time in Glasgow will mostly be remembered for his crucial penalty shoot-out miss in the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville, which Rangers went on to lose.

Ramsey will be keen to get some minutes under his belt to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar in November.

He becomes the second Wales international in quick succession to move to France's top tier, with centre-back Joe Rodon joining Rennes on loan from Tottenham on Monday.

Nice finished fifth in Ligue 1 last season and have already added Alexis Beka Beka, Rares Ilie and Badredine Bouanani in recent weeks.

The club have also been linked with moves for Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and Empoli centre-back Mattia Viti.

Cesc Fabregas has signed a two-year-deal with Italian second-tier side Como and has also become a shareholder in the club.

The 35-year-old left Monaco at the end of his deal with the Ligue 1 outfit, having played just two league games last season due to injury, but insisted he was not about to retire.

The former Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder was presented to the media as a Como player on Monday and said he was looking forward to getting started in a league he believes to be a strong one.

"The quality of the championship is high, as is that of the relegated teams [from Serie A]," Fabregas said. "I can't wait to start, do well, play and win a lot. And then I would like to do some magic here in Como."

Como finished 13th in Serie B last season, but chief executive and Dennis Wise – another former Chelsea player – eventually hopes to get the club into the top flight, and he revealed Fabregas has also become a shareholder.

"Cesc will become a shareholder of the company, that's another reason why he came here," Wise said. "He will be here longer than expected.

"He wanted to join the club for our ambitions, to fix the stadium, open a new sports centre and get to Serie A."

Fabregas explained the conversations he held with Wise as well as club owners' representative Mirwan Suwarso and general and sporting manager Carlalberto Ludi that led him to accept a move to Italy.

"I have been extremely fortunate that my career has allowed me to play at the most wonderful clubs. Como is no exception," he said.

"After lengthy talks with Mirwan, Dennis and Charlie, they explained in detail one of the most exciting and ambitious projects in football.

"This is why I am looking to build a long-term future here, not just on the pitch but also off it, too. I believed in the vision from the first moment, and I have decided to invest personally to be part of the bigger picture.

"I cannot wait to get out on the pitch and play in front of the fans in such a beautiful setting. The tradition, infrastructure and desire that the owners have to take this club to the next level is inspiring. I cannot wait to start."

Sassuolo managing director Giovanni Carnevali says Juventus are still competing with Napoli to try and sign Giacomo Raspadori and "anything can happen" before the transfer window closes.

Napoli are reported to have emerged as the favourites to sign the Italy forward, who has just under two years remaining on his contract.

Juve are said to have cooled their interest in the 22-year-old, who was part of the Azzurri squad that won Euro 2020 last year.

Sassuolo sold striker Gianluca Scamacca to West Ham last week for a fee £30.5million (€36m) plus £5m in add-ons and look set to lose another prized asset.

Carnevali said in an interview with Il Giornale: "For Giacomo there are the eyes of Napoli and Juventus.

"It is clear that the transfer market is still long and anything can still happen, but it is equally true that our idea is to end the negotiations within a few days to concentrate on the championship.

"The goal is to enhance youngsters, just like Gianluca Scamacca and his arrival in the Premier League is a fantastic recognition."

Raspadori scored 10 goals and provided five assists for Sassuolo in Serie A last season.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta suggested the club's spending may not be overnand hinted at a move for reported target Bernardo Silva should head coach Xavi request it.

The Manchester City midfielder has been linked with a move to Camp Nou as a potential replacement for Frenkie de Jong, who is rumoured to be of interest to Manchester United and Chelsea.

Barca have already signed Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde during the transfer window, though questions had been raised whether the club would be able to register them.

Speaking at a media conference to present Kounde after his move from Sevilla, Laporta explained the current situation around player registration, stating: "We are optimistic. We are doing everything possible to register the new purchases.

"I hope that the interpretation we give of the regulation is the same as [LaLiga]. There is time until August 13."

When asked if the club would be looking to add Silva as well, he replied: "First we have to register the players, then we will see what to do if the coach [Xavi] asks for more reinforcements."

The club also announced it had activated a third economic lever in order to try and register their new arrivals.

A statement on the Barca website on Monday read: "FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios to the company Socios.com for €100million to accelerate the club's audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.

"The sale has been made in accordance with the authorisation of the General Assembly of FC Barcelona Members held last October 23."

Barca, who had reportedly been €1.3billion in debt, had relied on two economic levers so far, the first seeing the Catalan giants sell 10 per cent of their LaLiga broadcasting rights to American investment firm Sixth Street.

The second reported involved transferring a further 15 per cent of their television rights to Sixth Street for the next 25 years, supposedly raising more than €500m from both.

Real Madrid have confirmed the departure of forward Borja Mayoral, who has joined Getafe on a five-year deal.

The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with Getafe, scoring six goals in 18 matches, and leaves Madrid after 15 years associated with the Spanish giants.

With Madrid, Mayoral has won the Champions League, Club World Cup, Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana, although he never quite established himself as a regular within the first-team squad.

Mayoral made his debut for Madrid in 2015 but subsequently went on loan to Wolfsburg for the 2016-17 season, returning to the Santiago Bernabeu the following year.

A two-year loan with Levante was followed by a two-season spell with Roma, which was cut short in January with Getafe taking over the deal for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign before securing his permanent signing.

Bournemouth have completed the signing of versatile midfielder Marcus Tavernier from Middlesbrough ahead of their Premier League return.

Tavernier follows Ryan Fredericks and Joe Rothwell in joining Bournemouth, who begin their campaign at home to Aston Villa on Saturday.

The 23-year-old, who made 155 appearances for Boro, has signed a five-year deal at the Vitality Stadium for a reported upfront fee of £10million.

Bournemouth confirmed the transfer on their website on Monday and chief executive Neill Blake said: "He was one of the standout performers in the Championship last season.

"He has a great pedigree, tremendous energy and is a versatile young player who can play a number of different positions.

"Marcus was attracting a great deal of interest and we are delighted he has decided to join us. Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him."

Tavernier is comfortable playing in midfield, out wide or up top and scored and assisted a combined 10 goals in 44 Championship appearances last time out.

"I'm happy to be here, it's been a long time coming," Tavernier said. "I'm just delighted to be here now."

Brendan Rodgers insisted Leicester City would not be selling Wesley Fofana to Chelsea and derided Newcastle United's reported offer for James Maddison.

Leicester are the only Premier League club yet to make a new signing with less than a week to go before the start of the season.

With finances said to be tight at the King Power Stadium, a number of key players appear to be of interest to rival clubs.

Chelsea are reportedly considering a move for centre-back Fofana, having lost Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona while missing out on top targets Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern Munich and Jules Kounde also to Barca.

Reports suggest Leicester would only countenance the sale of one of Fofana or Maddison, and Rodgers ruled out the possibility of his top defender departing.

"Naturally, he's a top talent," Rodgers said following Sunday's 1-0 friendly win over Sevilla. "He's not for sale.

"He still has lots of improvements to make. He's very happy here, he really enjoys being here.

"Naturally, he will attract the interest of other clubs. Our job, in not signing anyone so far, is to at least keep the players we have. I know that's the intention of the club."

Rodgers was slightly less firm on Maddison's future, although he suggested the £40million fee Newcastle were said to be willing to pay fell well short of the midfielder's value.

Newcastle have also been linked to Maddison's team-mates Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes, while they last season targeted Rodgers himself before appointing Eddie Howe.

"He's still very much a player here," Rodgers said of Maddison. "Naturally, the players are sought after because they are talents.

"You see his performance, you see how happy he is, and he's not a player we want to sell.

"It's not for me to put valuations on the players, it's not my side, but [£40m] might just cover three-quarters of his left leg, that price. He's a top player."

Another player who could leave Leicester is captain Kasper Schmeichel, who has held talks with Nice.

Lucien Favre, coach of the Ligue 1 club, said over the weekend a potential move was "a real lead" but "not yet done".

Rodgers added: "There's been a little bit of interest over the summer.

"Kasper has earned the right to have a think about the next chapter of his career and where that's going to be. When there's something concrete, we'll sit and discuss it and take it from there."

Chelsea are showing they still have plenty of business to take care of during this transfer period, with reports they will make significant bids for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and Leicester City's Wesley Fofana.

De Jong has been a central figure in transfer news since the season ended, locked in an ongoing saga with Manchester United after they finally met Barcelona's asking price, only for the 25-year-old Dutch international to reveal he has no interest in heading to a club outside of the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have been outgoing about their desire for another quality centre back to bring in along with Kalidou Koulibaly, and after Barcelona swooped in at the 11th hour to land Blues target Jules Kounde, Fofana is the new hot name in their hunt for a long-term solution in the middle of defence.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PREPARE BIG-MONEY BIDS FOR DE JONG AND FOFANA

In the immediate aftermath of Barcelona securing Kounde, reports came out that Chelsea were then unwilling to do further business with the Spanish giants, withholding Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta.

However, that seems to have changed as Sport is reporting the Stamford Bridge side will make a bid for De Jong, who Barcelona value at €80million, and if a deal can be made, Barca will then immediately use some of those funds to sign Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva.

For the 21-year-old Fofana, who has represented France at the under-21 level, Leicester reportedly value him at £85m after recently locking him down on a five-year contract expiring in 2027. Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested in the Foxes' defender.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Athletic are reporting Chelsea have also put out a feeler for 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, while Sport Italia's Rudy Galetti claims they are also discussing Milan Skriniar.

– According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle United have turned their attention to Leicester winger Harvey Barnes after having their bid for James Maddison turned down.

Manchester United are reportedly weighing up moves for 25-year-old Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic and RB Salzburg 19-year-old Benjamin Sesko, with the latter said to be valued at over £50m.

– ESPN are reporting that if Manchester City cannot land Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, then they will pivot to Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro, who has 56 international caps for Portugal.

– Ekrem Konur has revealed that Aston Villa face stiff competition in their pursuit of Bodo/Glimt right-back Alfons Sampsted, with the 24-year-old Iceland international also drawing interest from Bayer Leverkusen, Lyon and Lazio.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.