Connect with us


Chelsea’s £30m transfer decision pays off after Slonina & Santos’ USMNT & Brazil performances



(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Chelsea have been planning for the future which has seen them acquire many youngsters since last summer following the takeover by the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership.

More than £480 million has been spent by the new Chelsea owners, many being ready-made for the first-team while some have been purchased with a view on the years ahead.

Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei were both signed in the summer, with David Datro Fofana, Benoit Badiashile and Noni Madueke being signed in January.

Gabriel Slonina was brought in from Chicago Fire, joining at the end of the 2022 after seeing the MLS season out, while Andrey Santos made the switch from Vasco da Gama earlier this month.

Slonina, 18, signed a six-year-deal for £12 million and Santos, 18, also penned a long-term deal after an £18 million transfer was agreed.

Both are part of the Vision 2030 project at Chelsea and the pair are out on international duty with the USMNT and Brazil, respectively.

Slonina became the youngest ever player to make his debut for the USMNT (18y 255d), playing the full 90 minutes during their 2-1 friendly loss to Serbia, surpassing Tony Meola.

Despite defeat, Slonina made an exceptional stop during the first half while the USMNT were leading the game.

His reflexes to produce a stunning save showed off his capabilities that Chelsea will already be aware about, which will impress them looking ahead as they eye a new long-term number one at Stamford Bridge amid uncertainty over Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy’s futures.

Meanwhile, Santos is at the U20 South American Championship with Brazil. Prior to their match against Colombia, he scored in each of their opening wins in Group A against Peru and Argentina.

The 18-year-old added his third of the group stage campaign with a header in the first half to draw his country level to claim a point to keep them top of the group heading into their final game this weekend against Paraguay.

Chelsea accepted Santos’ release earlier this month in order for him to represent, and captain, his country at the tournament in Colombia.

“I got there, talked to them and they made me feel at ease, accepted and wished me good luck,” Santos said on Chelsea talks. “I’m sure they’re rooting for me, they’ve already sent me a message to keep it up.”

He added: “It’s a dream come true to play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, a huge club like Chelsea. I am very happy.

“Everyone who is close to me knows that it was my goal when I was 18 to be in Europe, and, thank God, I was able to achieve it.”

READ MORE: New Chelsea signing Andrey Santos ‘delivers 50-word John Terry speech’ to Brazil teammates