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Reports: Crew rejects Bristol City bid for Steffen


Zack Steffen’s stellar player over the past two years have caught the eye of European scouts, but the Columbus Crew aren’t about to jump on the first offer to come their way.

According to multiple reports on Thursday, the Crew rejected Bristol City’s initial $3.9 million offer for the 23-year-old, which would’ve been the highest amount offered for an MLS goalkeeper.

Steffen’s stock has been on the rise after a stellar 2017 league campaign with the Crew. He helped the Crew to a place in last season’s Eastern Conference Final while also being named an All-Star this season.

He was MLS’ Player of the Month for May, helping Columbus to a 3-0-2 record during that span. Steffen recently was given three guaranteed years to his contract, and earned his first caps with the USMNT this year.

It is unsure whether or not Bristol City will come back with an improved offer for the keeper after seeing their starter Frank Fielding hurt in preseason. Steffen joined the Crew from Bundesliga outfit SC Freiburg in 2016, beating out Steve Clark for the #1 spot and hasn’t looked back since.

He currently has seven clean sheets in 16 league matches in 2018, as the Crew sit fourth in the East.

Steffen and the Crew are back in action on Saturday at home against Orlando City.


  1. If Bristol is the only team interested in making an offfer then why do business? It does not make business sense for Steffens, Columbus, or MLS. If other teams were interested and increased the purchase price all three parties would show more interest. Also, if more teams were interested it would help justify a work permit and if Steffens had more USMNT starts under his belt

  2. If MLS as a single entity then why does the league not have a say in what players can be picked up via transfer or sold via transfer? If Garber or anyone associated with MLS knows what’s good for the league they review these possible moves. Honestly not sure where crew is going to come into $3.9 million anytime soon… If Bristol counters with a larger bed and they still shoot it down makes you wonder. Maybe my single entity Remark is naïve and I need to do my homework, however I just can’t believe in the leadership at the forefront of soccer in this nation right now. Maybe Ernie Stewart will do that some justice

    • Actually when Cameron went to Stoke MLS was willing to accept a lower number than Houston was, delaying the process. In practice what I think this means is there may be a minimum number MLS will accept, but the team involved doesn’t have to take it and can hold out for more, or decide they’d prefer to enforce the contract and keep them here.

      It is unclear if Steffen was shop windowed by Columbus — in which case this is a negotiation — or whether Columbus wasn’t even thinking about it and Bristol just put in a bid. Steffen has a fair amount of contract left and Columbus may just want him to play a while, or may feel the length of deal remaining justifies more money.

      One growing point of friction with England’s pyramid teams, besides the work permits, is I think they historically saw us as cheap alternatives to domestics. But Bristol is a smaller championship club and record offer or not, we may view Steffen as worth even more than that. In which case it may get harder to get Americans in if their going rate is higher and work permit is a hurdle. Our best players may be less of a budget option. I mean, people keep wanting Pulisic to transfer there, but can you imagine the fee? Only so many teams would have that kind of money there.

    • I do believe MLS is involved in transfers. MLS takes 1/4 of the transfer fee so that’s rounded 3 million left for the Crew. Of that Crew only gets 750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to use for salary. That leaves the Crew with approximately 2.25 million that can be used either to augment DP salaries or sign new DPs (but they are out of slots, so they could just use it to pay the three they have), or for other club expenses like academies and facilities. Given that Precourt is set on moving he isn’t going to invest in Columbus and he doesn’t have approval to spend it in Austin so it would be just sitting out there. Now as soon as he gets approval to move (and he likely will) then you’ll see Steffen moved I would bet.

  3. I sincerely wish Steffen the best, but I am very happy to see him stick around to get the Crew back to MLS Cup this year.

    That, and I don’t want to see Precourt get the $$ – would much rather see the new local owners get it when Zack goes overseas in January.


    • this is what i find so infuriating with MLS

      if Columbus (or or Austin or MLS HQ) can get more money out of Bristol that would be great, but please don’t hold players careers up for this odd schedule we have. no English/UEFA teams are in the market for a starting goalkeeper in January, they get that position locked down in the offseason summer transfer window.

      at some point we are going to need players to hold out mid-season and force the hand of these owners.

      • $3.9mil seems like a very reasonable offer for a 23 yr old with 50 games under his belt. Its well within MLS or Columbus’ rights to reject the deal, but I really hate to see him miss this opportunity. There are no guarantees anyone will come back in for him in January. Bad timing, loss of form or injury could all mean he misses his shot at playing in Europe.
        Before I read your comment I was thinking the same thing about hold outs. When will we see this start to happen where guys will hold out more often in hopes of forcing theirway out

      • I see what you’re saying about the general condition for MLS players, but Zack was brought in and featured heavily in these talks.

        Berhalter has always done a good job of making the player’s choice a priority. He did it with Finlay letting him go to Minn. More recently he did it with Meram to Orlando, and Ola Kamara to LA. It would have been in the team’s interest to keep both of those players.

        This was not a case like Twellman or Dempsey where the league stepped in and blocked the move. Zack Steffen took part in the decision making process.

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