Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is set to join Middlesbrough on a season-long loan in search of regular playing time.
The United States’ first choice goalie has played backup to Ederson for the last couple of seasons. But a lack of regular playing time at the Etihad Stadium is becoming a threat to his place in the national team.
With the World Cup set to kick off in November, the 27-year-old is looking for regular game time to keep his place as number one for the Stars and Stripes. His place in the team was secure until injuries and a lack of playing time opened the door to new Arsenal signing Matt Turner.
Turner was given his international debut on January 31, 2021, as the man in goal against Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly match. He gave a good account of himself keeping a clean sheet. Even more remarkable was the fact that he saved a penalty in the game.
His reward was a starting place in all six of the United States’ 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup games. With five clean sheets in the tournament, including one in a 1–0 win against Mexico in the final, Turner had grabbed his opportunity with both hands becoming a regular in goal.
Winning the “Best Goalkeeper” of the tournament award sealed the deal.
That has put Steffen in a disadvantaged position. The City man now has to go the extra mile to reclaim the number one spot. Warming the bench at City will do nothing to help his cause. Therefore, securing a loan move to a side where he can play regularly could be the starting point of what now seems like an uphill task.
Becoming first choice at Middlesbrough will mean that, unless Turner displaces Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal, Steffen stands a good chance of starting for The Yanks at the World Cup later in the year.
Although he is dropping down to the Championship to join Chris Wilder’s side, he will have a chance to impress his national team manager playing for a side looking to gain promotion to the Premier League next season.
Meanwhile, German keeper Stefan Ortega is set to move to the Etihad Stadium as Steffen’s replacement.