Could an American goalkeeper be headed to the Premier League? According to Paul Tenorio of The Athletic and several other outlets, United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Zack Steffen is set to join English Premier League side Manchester City. City is reported to have made a bid between $7 and $10 million in order to pry Steffen away from Columbus Crew SC.
The Citizens have been dealing with a backup goalkeeper crisis since Claudio Bravo suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, shortly after the summer transfer window ended. As a result, the team recalled 20-year-old Kosovo international Arijanet Muric from his loan at Dutch Eredivisie side NAC Breda.
Since then, Muric has served as the #2 and made one appearance for City in a 3-0 victory against Oxford United in a third round EFL Cup match. Steffen would presumably challenge the 6’6’’ Muric for the #2 spot.
Steffen likely would not meet the UK work permit requirement of having played in 60% (this percentage varies according to a nation’s FIFA ranking) of USMNT matches, in the past two years. However, City can apply for a waiver, which will likely be granted.
Both Steffen and Muric will be well behind starting goalkeeper Ederson on the depth chart. The Brazilian international has been in excellent for league-leading City, with 8 shutouts and a 0.38 goals against average (GAA) in 13 league matches.
Steffen is coming off of an excellent 2018 season in which won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and led Columbus Crew SC to an Eastern Conference Semifinals appearance. He recorded 10 shutouts and a 1.27 GAA, in 29 MLS regular season matches.
Steffen also made 6 USMNT appearances in 2018, including his debut, the most of any American goalkeeper. Although the exact terms of his Manchester City contract are unclear, he seems likely to earn far more than $145,000 he made this year with Columbus.
Steffen had previously been linked with Championship side Bristol City over the summer. He will become the
2nd 3rd American under contract with Manchester City’s senior team, joining centerback Erik Palmer-Brown (who is currently on loan at NEC Breda) and midfielder Mix Diskerud (who is on loan with South Korean side Ulsan Hyundai).