CHELSEA are set to battle with Real Madrid to sign goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, according to reports.
The Blues' interest in the Chicago Fire stopper predates the recent Todd Boehly takeover.
The West Londoners were keen on Slonina during the January transfer window, but failed to get a deal over the line.
Madrid appear to have leapfrogged them in the race for the 18-year-old's signature, but Chelsea aren't willing to give up without a fight.
According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Blues have re-entered talks with the Fire regarding Slonina.
Madrid had their most recent offer turned down by the MLS side last week.
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Relevo add that Slonina had been close to joining the Spanish champions, with plans even having been drawn up for him to start the season with Real Madrid Castilla – the club's feeder team.
They go on to claim that Chelsea have "meddled" in the situation by offering "big" money for the youngster.
Slonina's move to Madrid had seemed all but certain earlier this week, when his agent Jaime Garcia told MLSsoccer: "It should be an honour for Chicago, and the MLS, to have Real Madrid take notice in one of their players.
"We are hoping Chicago can find an agreement with Real Madrid to realise Gabriel’s dream of playing for this club."
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Garcia then added: "With respect to other clubs and other offers [which] we've received many, and at the moment we are gracious to those clubs but you cannot say no to Real Madrid."
At just 18, Slonina is Chicago Fire's first choice goalkeeper in MLS.
He has started all 14 of their matches so far this season, having earned the No1 spot midway through the last campaign.
Slonina is yet to make his senior debut for the United States, finding himself behind Manchester City stopper Zack Steffen and new Arsenal signing Matt Turner.
But he has received a call-up, sitting on the bench for a 1-0 victory over Bosnia last December.
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