Zack Steffen’s reported loan move to Middlesbrough is moving closer to completion and the American goalkeeper is already being praised by manager Chris Wilder ahead of his spell on Teesside.
Steffen is finalizing a season-long loan spell to Middlesbrough from Manchester City for the upcoming EFL Championship season, a promising opportunity for the U.S. men’s national team goalkeeper to earn consistent minutes ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Steffen has totaled 21 appearances in two full seasons with Man City, mainly serving as the No. 2 shot-stopper behind Brazilian International Ederson.
The 27-year-old will now enter a Middlesbrough squad that fell just short of the promotion playoffs in 2021-22 and will be eager to get back to contending for promotion to the Premier League.
“We’ve brought in Liam Roberts who is going to prove a really good acquisition for us, and now we’re adding Zack Steffen who recently just signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Man City,” Wilder said in an interview with Teesside Live.
“Man City don’t hand out four-and-a-half-year contracts if they don’t think anything of them,” Wilder added. “Everyone knows his situation, he needed to play because of the World Cup. He had an agreement with Man City, but he could have easily stayed there and sat comfortably as their number two. I think it’s a big coup for us and so I’m delighted to be bringing him in.”
Steffen will join 34-year-old Luke Daniels and 27-year-old Liam Roberts in the Middlesbrough goalkeeping ranks this season.
Here is a closer look at the recent Americans Abroad News:
Report: Cole Bassett to join Fortuna Sittard on loan
Cole Bassett earned his first taste of European Soccer last season after joining Feyenoord on loan from the Colorado Rapids, and now the American midfielder is reportedly set to feature for a new club this fall.
Fellow Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard is preparing to acquire Bassett on loan from Feyenoord this season, Voetbal International reported Friday. Bassett, 20, made seven first team appearances for Feyenoord last season, registering one assist.
The Colorado Rapids homegrown midfielder scored 13 goals and added nine assists in 75 combined appearances in MLS before earning a first loan spell in Europe. Bassett’s loan spell to Feyenoord is set to run through the 2022-23 season, but a move to Fortuna Sittard would help him earn more consistent playing time.
A former U.S. Under-20 youth national team player, Bassett has earned one cap for the senior national team to date.
Fortuna Sittard fought off relegation to the Dutch second tier last season, finishing just outside of the relegation zone.
Andrija Novakovich joins Venezia on permanent deal
Venezia’s number of American players continued to grow Friday with Andrija Novakovich moving to the club on a permanent deal.
Novakovich made the switch from fellow Serie B side Frosinone, signing a four-year deal with Venezia. The 25-year-old totaled 100 combined appearances for Frosinone since arriving in September 2019, scoring 19 goals and adding 20 assists.
Novakovich’s club career truly began with English Football League Championship side Reading, but the Serbian-American forward only made three senior appearances for the Royals. He excelled on back-to-back loan spells in the Netherlands, featuring for Fortuna Sittard and SC Telstar respectively.
Novakovich has earned three senior caps to date with the USMNT.
Venezia suffered relegation from Serie A last season and already has fellow Americans Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, and Jack De Vries on its roster.
Sebastian Soto’s returns to Norwich City following Barnsley trial
Sebastian Soto’s short trial with English League One side Barnsley has come to an abrupt end.
Soto has returned to parent club Norwich City after a foot injury ended his time on trial, Barnsley manager Michael Duff confirmed in an interview with the Barnsley Chronicle. The American forward has yet to debut for Norwich City following his transfer there from Hannover in 2021.
“He came with a foot injury, didn’t tell anybody, tried to get through it but, after half an hour against Crewe, he realized that he wasn’t doing himself any justice,” Duff said. “That’s not something we’re looking at, at the minute.”
The 21-year-old Soto has only appeared in three matches for Norwich City’s Under-23 side, while also being loaned to Scottish club Livingston and Portuguese side Porto B last season. Soto has earned two caps with the USMNT, scoring twice in a friendly win over Panama in 2020.
Norwich City currently has Teemu Pukki, Josh Sargent, Adam Idah and Jordan Hugill under contract at the forward position heading into the EFL Championship campaign.