Chelsea star sends Graham Potter message amid Todd Boehly’s Edouard Mendy transfer decision


Graham Potter has been sent a clear message by one of his stars ahead of his team’s game against Everton on Saturday. The Blues go into the match at Stamford Bridge off the back of three wins in a row and newfound optimism after months of frustration and growing anger in the fanbase.

With the international break just around the corner there is a chance to find their feet and keep the positivity going as the Toffees visit Stamford Bridge, a ground they haven’t won at in the league since 1994. Suddenly the match is a reason to be cautiously excited rather than fearful for supporters and the players appear to be feeding off the same energy.

With two league wins in a row for the first time since October Chelsea have left behind their run of just one victory in 11 as they got back to scoring ways to, finding the net five times across four days. Sean Dyche’s Everton will pose a physical test for them though.

Perhaps that is why there has been new emphasis on being in the gym as Chelsea’s young squad attempt to bulk up. It’s also not just Mykhailo Mudryk either, he has been joined in lifting the weights by fellow new signing Gabriel Slonina.

The teenager goalkeeper is yet to play for the Blues since his summer transfer but has been around the squad since January. The American moved from Chicago Fire to Stamford Bridge last year with Real Madrid also interested in his services and the ‘keeper has impressed in his brief time for the club’s academy sides.

For £10m he is clearly valued but faces a tough test to displace either Edouard Mendy or current first choice Kepa Arrizabalga. Both players have at least nine years of experience over Slonina and have performed to high levels in their time in London. A gap may soon be open for Slonina though with neither of them firm favourites to remain at the club past this season. Mendy has lost his place due to a mixture of injury, poor form and Potter having different expectations from his No.1.

Meanwhile Kepa, though in revived form, was close to leaving last summer and is still prone to mistakes. Neither is a standout option and both have their pros and cons. Slonina, whilst looking to continue to settle in the country, could yet have a chance to make a name for himself, hence the extra work trying to impress Potter.

Such is the nature of the Premier League, the physicality and specifically Dyche’s style, he’s unlikely to be making the debut on Saturday, that’s for sure. It isn’t impossible that he is challenging for appearances, even as a backup, next season though and his latest video on Twitter is an indication to Potter of his work ethic. He posted footage of himself in the gym with the caption, “OVRTM [overtime].”

Slonina’s tall frame makes him appear slight and adaptation to the league is common so there will be no rush to chuck him in. If he continues to put in the hours then he may well catch the eye of Potter, who is reportedly ready to include Mendy in a deal for Inter Milan shot-stopper Andre Onana. The overall situation may not change but Slonina, 18, has many years ahead of him to make his mark still.

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