Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City have confirmed the signing of United States goalkeeper Zack Steffen from Columbus Crew for a reported fee of £7 million.
The deal to bring Steffen to the Premier League exceeds the £2.3 million fee paid by Manchester United for Tim Howard in 2003 and makes him the most expensive goalkeeper in Major League Soccer history.
It’s also the largest fee that Columbus Crew has received for a player in its 23-year history. Steffen will participate in the first part of the 2019 Major League Soccer season, which starts in March 2018, until joining his new teammates in July.
Steffen kept ten clean sheets in the MLS last season and was voted 2018 Goalkeeper of the Year as a reward for his exemplary performances. He’s also recently become No. 1 goalkeeper for the United States National Team and has amassed six caps since being promoted from the youth ranks.
Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson Moraes is the first-choice goalkeeper at the Etihad Stadium, but Steffen is likely to act as a replacement for current second-choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who has been unavailable during the 2018/19 season due to an Achilles injury.
Why Have Manchester City Signed Zack Steffen?
Ederson is one of the finest goalkeepers in Europe and I’m convinced that the signing of Zack Steffen will have no bearing on his first-choice role at Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola has been forced to resort to 20-year-old Swiss goalkeeper Arijanet Muric for cover following the long-term injury to Claudio Bravo. Muric is a product of the Manchester City academy, but has only made three senior appearances.
Manchester City originally sent him a season-long loan to Dutch Eredivisie outfit NAC Breda, but he was recalled from Breda after making just one appearance, following the injury to Bravo.
Muric has played only two matches in the League Cup and his unproven track record could leave supporters feeling sceptical if Ederson is to sustain an injury.
Therefore, Steffen has purely been signed to supply adequate cover for the meantime, although his youth, talent and hunger could also be utilized as a tool to keep Ederson on his toes.
What Has He Achieved in His Early Career?