Chelsea secure signature of star MLS goalkeeper

New Chelsea signing Djordje Petrovic in front of his tifo. (Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
New Chelsea signing Djordje Petrovic in front of his tifo. (Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /

Fabrizio Romano reported late Monday evening that Chelsea have completed the signing of Major League Soccer goalkeeper Djordje Petrović. The signing is expected to become official on 23 August, with a fee rumoured to be in the region of €16 million, and a contract that runs through 2030 with the option for an additional year.

The Petrović signing comes on the heels of Kepa’s loan to Real Madrid, which left Chelsea without an established backup goalkeeper. However, the Serbian is more than just a backup, and is expected to push fellow newcomer Robert Sanchez for a place in the starting XI. Regarded as one of the best shot-stoppers in the MLS, Petrović boasts an astonishing save percentage of 81.6 percent over the last two seasons.

Most importantly, the New England Revolution star is just 23, and will turn 24 on 8 Oct. This again shows the Blues’ focus on bringing in young talent, even if the MLS is a rather unconventional source of it. In addition, Petrović’s 6-foot-4 frame will allow him to control the box similarly to the 6-foot-5 Sanchez, and he now joins youngster Gabriel Slonina at Chelsea as the second MLS goalkeeper signing in as many years.

Chelsea add competition for Sanchez

Sanchez has not been great for Chelsea so far, and especially so against West Ham, conceding two goals and then proceeding to allow a penalty past him as well. The Spaniard was originally supposed to compete with compatriot Kepa, but he’s gone on loan now. For the fee that was paid for him, Sanchez was never truly poised to be a top-tier starter in the Premier League, and it seems that Chelsea have realised it themselves.

The good news is that fans on Twitter cannot say enough good things about Petrović, which bodes well for the Blues after their catastrophic implosion on Sunday. The 23-year old has excellent shot-stopping metrics, and his passing metrics are eerily similar to those of Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak. Oblak is, of course, more known for his ability to make saves than his ball-playing, but any comparison to one of the planet’s top goalkeepers is a good one.

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It is entirely possible that Petrović usurps the starting position from Sanchez by season’s end, and that would be a great outcome for Chelsea. This means that they will have spent two similar, low-cost fees on goalkeepers capable of handling themselves at this level. Petrović could be the better one, though, and he will be one to watch over the next few weeks.