Manchester City to move for Stefan Ortega as second choice goalkeeper
Manchester City have been linked with a free transfer for Stefan Ortega on Thursday, with suggestions that the former Arminia Bielefeld goalkeeper will be brought in as the second choice goalkeeper behind Ederson.
First revealed by German outlet Kicker on Thursday morning, Ortega was reported as being set to join the Premier League champions on a free transfer upon the expiration of his Arminia Bielefeld contract as Ederson's understudy.
Zack Steffen was not mentioned in the Kicker report, but it seemed to signal that the club were prepared to replace him, given that Scott Carson recently extended his City contract and solidified his position as the third choice.
It is also unlikely that the American would settle for being third choice anyway, as he is fighting for a starting berth at this year's World Cup for the US Men's National Team. In April, it was reported by Jaime Ojeda that Steffen would consider leaving the Etihad Stadium and would value a loan move in order to secure more minutes for this very reason.
Dirk Schlarmann of Sky Sport Germany would then corroborate the news from Kicker, revealing that the Ortega had rejected offers from Spain and the Bundesliga, with a transfer to City potentially taking place by the end of the week.
Fabrizio Romano followed up reports by confirming that the 29-year-old had verbally agreed on personal terms with Pep Guardiola's side – although a deal being completed was dependent on Steffen finding a good solution in the transfer market, with Ortega said to be waiting for City.
Despite the seemingly imminent nature of the transfer based on German reporting this morning, it does appear that any move for Ortega will hinge on whether Steffen does indeed depart. However, City have suggested via the likes of Mike Minay of BBC Radio Manchester that Ortega is seen as an addition to the squad – not necessarily as a Steffen replacement.
We will have to see how that situation develops in light of this club media briefing, but it seems unlikely that the club would go into the season with four senior goalkeepers in the squad, and Steffen is highly likely to want to establish himself as the USA's number one with regular game time as reports have suggested.
It has also since emerged that Ortega is following City on Instagram, which has lightheartedly been seen by fans on social media as all but confirming a transfer and something we saw prior to Ederson completing his move to Manchester from Benfica in 2017.
Ortega is known to be excellent with his feet and distribution, something Steffen has evidently lacked when called upon in cup competition over the past two campaigns, so it comes as no surprise that the club have earmarked him as a potential backup to Ederson.
Although Ortega was unable to prevent Arminia Bielefeld from being relegated from the Bundesliga, the goalkeeper boasted an impressive save percentage of 73.3% for the season, which was the second-highest percentage in the German top-flight last term.
Ortega also made the second-most saves in the division (128), narrowly topped by Yan Sommer, who made three more saves.
Couple this with the German's excellent long ball ability and comfort in playing short passes, he has unsurprisingly emerged as one of the more standout goalkeepers in the Bundesliga and has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich in the past.
Elsewhere, Filip Stevanovic has returned to the club following the curtailment of his two-year loan deal with SC Heerenveen after an underwhelming first season; the 19-year-old winger is expected to go back out on loan.
Written by: @NA1907
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