Zack Steffen will indeed be moving to Manchester City–with a catch.
The Columbus Crew announced Tuesday that Steffen will move to the Premier League champions, as had been reported by The Athletic a couple of weeks ago. The move won't be an immediate one, though. Steffen won't leave until July 9, joining Man City two days after the end of the Concacaf Gold Cup and when the Premier League's summer transfer window is open.
The club wouldn't divulge the transfer fee but said that it "is the largest in club history and most ever received by an MLS club for a goalkeeper in the league’s 23-year history." The Athletic reported it to be in the $7 million to $10 million range.
Steffen emerged as a top goalkeeping option for the U.S. men's national team in 2018, and it's imperative that he maintains his status, with a U.K. work permit contingent on a number of factors, one of them being caps for the national team in competitive matches. Should Steffen start throughout the Gold Cup under U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter–his most recent coach with the Crew–it would figure to improve his chances significantly.
“This is a historic transaction for the club and a special moment for Zack Steffen that we are immensely proud of,” Crew interim general manager Pat Onstad said in a statement. “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.
"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. We continue to believe that players that come to Crew SC have an opportunity to develop and become great players either here in MLS or abroad. Ahead of Zack’s departure next summer, our scouts already have players targeted as the club identifies a high-caliber replacement.”
The move will mark Steffen's second trip to Europe. He left the University of Maryland for a stint with SC Freiburg in Germany in 2015-16 before coming back to the U.S. and signing with the Crew, which turned down an offer from Bristol City for Steffen over the summer. He currently has six caps with the U.S.