COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC has finalized the transfer of goalkeeper Zack Steffen to Manchester City. The move will not happen until the secondary transfer window of 2019, meaning Steffen will start the upcoming MLS season in Columbus. While not disclosing the exact fee, the team did state it is the largest transfer fee ever received for a keeper in MLS history, and the largest transfer in Crew SC history.
“This is a historic transaction for the club and a special moment for Zack Steffen that we are immensely proud of,” Columbus Crew interim general manager Pat Onstad said. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of two and a half years of development and success for Zack. As someone who worked closely with Zack throughout, on behalf of the Club, I would like to say that we couldn’t be happier for him.”
Onstad said he had scouted Steffen since 2013 when he was at Maryland, and knew by 2015 that “he will be the USMNT number one someday…Manchester City Football Club is one of the top clubs in the world and we are pleased to finalize this agreement that benefits the player and both clubs. … Ahead of Zack’s departure next summer, our scouts already have players targeted as the Club identifies a high-caliber replacement.”
News of the impending transfer was first reported by Goal.com last week. A possible reason for the delay in his move to Manchester City could be to allow Steffen to gain more competitive caps with the United States men’s national team. In order to play for Manchester City, Steffen needs to win an appeal for a worker’s permit, and high level caps in the 2019 Gold Cup could help secure that.
“Any success that I have had as a goalkeeper in MLS with Crew SC is a testament to those around me who have pushed me – teammates, coaches, staff, family, friends and supporters,” Steffen said. “Today’s announcement regarding next summer is a special moment for me and I look forward to finishing my time with this Club on a strong note. I am eager to continue to put in the work to improve and be the best teammate I can…I want to leave everything I have in Columbus.”