The Revolution have agreed to transfer goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic to Chelsea FC for an MLS-record $17 million fee. The deal is pending a medical examination, expected to be completed by Wednesday.
Petrovic, 23, joined the Revolution as a replacement for Matt Turner last year and quickly became established among the league’s best goalkeepers. The Revolution paid a $1 million fee to FK Cukaricki in Serbia and Petrovic received $450,000 in annual salary.
The transfer fee for Petrovic will be highest ever for an MLS goalkeeper, and fifth-highest for a player from the league. Last year, Chelsea acquired Gabriel Slonina from the Chicago Fire for a $10 million fee, setting the MLS record for a goalkeeper. Before Petrovic’s move, the top three transfers for MLS goalkeepers have been Slonina; Zack Steffen ($7.4 million) to Manchester City; and Turner ($7 million) to Arsenal.
The richest MLS overall sales have been: midfielder Miguel Almiron ($26 million) to Newcastle United; defender Jhon Duran ($18 million) to Aston Villa; forward Ricardo Pepi ($17.8 million) to FC Augsburg; forward Pity Martinez ($17.3 million) to Al-Nassr; and defender/forward Alphonso Davies ($15.2 million) to Bayern Munich.
Chelsea has been on a spending spree since Todd Boehly took over as co-controlling owner last year. The Blues have shelled out more than $1 billion in transfer fees, including $25 million for Robert Sánchez, a team high for a goalkeeper. Sánchez, 25, acquired from Brighton & Hove Albion, has been starting in goal for Chelsea (0-1-1, 1 point), tied for 14th place in the Premier League. Chelsea backups include Lucas Bergström and Marcus Bettinelli.
Petrovic, who could compete for Chelsea’s starting slot, made two appearance for Serbia’s national team in 2021 under the coaching of former Revolution forward Ilija Stolica. With the Revolution, Petrovic totaled 14 shutouts in 43 games. Midway through last season, Petrovic kept the Revolution in playoff contention with four successive shutouts and a 402-minute scoreless streak.
This season, Petrovic compiled seven shutouts, including a 4-0 win over D.C. United in the last regular-season game for the Revolution (12-4-7, 43 points) before they took a break for Leagues Cup competition.
Before the MLS transfer deadline Aug. 2, the Revolution rejected offers from FC Nantes and Nottingham Forest worth less than $10 million for Petrovic, who sat out one game while negotiations continued. The Revolution were set to reject anything less than $10 million, the team record transfer set last season for forward Adam Buksa, who moved to FC Lens in France. And Chelsea came in with a $15 million bid for Petrovic after sending keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to Real Madrid on loan last week.
Petrovic’s move will raise the Revolution’s transfer earnings to more than $40 million, plus add-ons from Turner’s recent move to Nottingham Forest, in the last two years. Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena, placed on administrative leave by the league three weeks ago, has been able to find replacements, keeping the Revolution in title contention this season.
After selling Turner last year, the Revolution moved quickly to bring in Petrovic as starting goalkeeper. The team is currently negotiating with a potential replacement for Petrovic, according to team sources.
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.