Eupen have announced the signing of 19-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina. The USMNT player joins the club on loan from Chelsea and is likely to become the regular starter for Florian Kohfeldts side. Last summer Chelsea spent around €9m to bring him over from Chicago Fire, where he returned on loan for the 2022 season. Slonina played 43 games for Chicago Fire, conceding 61 goals and keeping 16 clean sheets. He made his international debut at the beginning of the year when he played 90 minutes against Serbia in a friendly. The USA lost that game 2-1.
The move certainly raises questions about the future of both Lennart Moser and Abdul Manaf Narudeen. The former was the regular starter for the Pandas last season, playing in 31 games after joining from Union. At 23-years-old, it is unlikely that the German will want to be what appears to be third choice now. Ghanian international Narudeen was the starter to begin the season, but had a shaky opening game as his two mistakes cost the side as they threw away a 2-0 lead against Westerlo. He did then keep a clean sheet against Genk as Eupen won 1-0, but it looks like Slonina will start ahead of him. With an upcoming AFCON, if the 24-year-old has any ambitions of starting for the Black Stars, he will probably have to move on as well.