Zack Steffen is in need of consistent playing time ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the American goalkeeper will head to the English Football League Championship in order to earn a starting role.
Middlesbrough has signed Steffen to a season-long loan from Manchester City, the club announced Tuesday. Man City recently added goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, forcing Steffen to seek a new opportunity for regular minutes this season.
Middlesbrough finished seventh in the EFL Championship last season, missing out on the promotion playoff places.
“I think it’s a big coup for us and so I’m delighted we’ve brought Zack in,” Boro manager Chris Wilder said. “We knew we had to improve the goalkeeping department. We brought in Liam Roberts and now we’re adding Zack who has just signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Man City.
“Man City don’t hand out four-and-a-half-year contracts if they don’t think anything of them,” he 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. He wanted to go out and he’s agreed to come here.”
Steffen has made 21 appearances for the Citizens over the past two seasons, but only two of those have come in Premier League action. Steffen totaled eight clean sheets in his 21 combined appearances for Man City, lifting two league titles and one Carabao Cup trophy.
Steffen has earned 29 caps with the U.S. men’s national team to date, with 10 of those coming since the start of 2021.
Gregg Berhalter’s side were drawn into a World Cup group with England, Iran, and Wales earlier this year and will face Gareth Bale and Wales on Nov. 21 in their group-stage opener.