NEW YORK CITY — In what appears to be a sudden change of plans, Aberdeen winger Gary Mackay-Steven is set for a transfer to Major League Soccer and the New York City Football Club.
Sky Sports Scotland tweeted on Friday that Mackay-Steven is undergoing a medical in Manchester, while the Scottish Sun confirmed that the Scotland international is choosing New York City over English League One side Portsmouth.
New York City FC is a satellite franchise under the City Football Group umbrella. Two-time defending Premier League champion Manchester City is the conglomerate’s most famous brand.
Neither New York City nor Aberdeen have confirmed the transfer although Dons manager Derek McInnes suggested that Mackay-Steven has played his final match for the club.
“The New York City opportunity is one he will find difficult to turn down but we have to move on. We’ve enjoyed working with Gary but the likelihood is he will move on,” McInnes told Sky Sports on Friday.
Mackay-Steven has been on the City locator since the winter months. In February, the Aberdeen Evening Express reported that NYCFC planned to offer the 28-year-old winger a pre-contract to sign with the Pigeons at the end of his deal with Aberdeen.
However, The Times reported on Wednesday that Mackay-Steven’s likely destination was Portsmouth, which finished its 2018-19 season fourth in League One and lost in the promotion playoffs.
Instead of arriving as anticipated in Portsmouth on Friday, Mackay-Steven flew to Manchester.
He scored 16 times in 72 appearances over a two-year span with Aberdeen but suffered a serious concussion against his former club, Celtic, in the December League Cup final.
Mackay-Steven returned in January only to sustain an ankle injury against Rangers in a Scottish Cup tie which left him sidelined for the final six matches of the Scottish Premiership season. His last match was an 85-minute shift in a 2-0 loss to St. Johnstone on February 23. Mackay-Steven scored his final goal for Aberdeen in a 2-1 defeat at Hibernian on February 2.
The Thurso, Scotland, native had his best day as a professional on December 16, 2017, when he notched a hat trick and an assist to lead Aberdeen’s 4-1 triumph against Hibernian FC.
Mackay-Steven can play wide either on the left or right. He is a two-footed performer but dominant with the left. On a good day, he is considered one of the most dynamic attackers in the Premiership. A lack of consistency, in part due to injuries, prevented a more elevated status.
Mackay-Steven played in the youth ranks for Liverpool and Fulham before his professional debut with second-division Scottish side Airdrie United in 2011. After one season, he moved up to the Premiership with Dundee United before his move to Celtic.
In 202 professional appearances, Mackay-Steven has 37 goals and 43 assists. He has two caps with Scotland, most recently an October 2018 friendly against Portugal when he assisted on a Steven Naismith goal.