OFFICIAL: Manchester City announce Stefan Ortega – "I am a modern goalkeeper..."
Manchester City have announced the signing of former Arminia Bielefeld goalkeeper Stefan Ortega on a free transfer; the German has signed a deal with the Premier League champions until the summer of 2025.
Ortega will wear the number 18 shirt at the Etihad Stadium.
With Zack Steffen indicating to the club that he would like to move on in search of regular game time to solidify his starting position for the USA ahead of the World Cup, the decision-makers at the City Football Academy were tasked with bringing in an able understudy to Ederson, and they turned their attention Ortega, who had a standout season in the Bundesliga despite Bielefeld's relegation.
The 29-year-old emerged as one of the more outstanding goalkeepers in the German top flight last season after boasting the second-highest save percentage in the division as well as making the second-most saves over the campaign.
Unsurprisingly, it is not only the player's goalkeeping ability that has caught the eye, with Ortega proving to be very proficient and comfortable with the ball at his feet – possessing the ability for accurate long-range passes, akin to Ederson.
Over the two years in which Steffen, who will join Middlesbrough on a season-long loan, featured for the Blues, one of the major criticisms of the American was his unease at playing out from the back, particularly against high-pressing opposition, so fans will be hoping to see an improvement in distribution brought about by the club's new second-choice goalkeeper.
Speaking to the club website, Ortega expressed his delight over the transfer:
"This is a fantastic move for me. Manchester City are an amazing team – a squad with world-class quality in every area. To be given the chance to join this group of players and help continue the club’s success is a dream for me."
"I have enjoyed my time in Germany and I want to thank the Arminia Bielefeld fans for their support. But this new challenge of coming to City and playing in the Premier League is too good for me to ignore."
"For me, it was the opportunity to join one of the biggest clubs in the world. Also, it is a chance to experience a new country, a new culture, and the best league in the world. The whole package was perfect for me. I needed a lot of time to think about it because it is a huge step, but now I am very happy to be a part of a club like Manchester City."
"I am ambitious enough to show my best performances and push my teammates to be the best in this team. I am looking forward to working with the guys, the coaches, with the goalkeeper coach Xabi Mancisidor and also with the goalkeeping team. I am really happy."
Ortega also spoke of his delight at the prospect of working with Pep Guardiola:
"I can’t wait to get started, meet my teammates and begin working with Pep and his backroom staff."
Ortega on the City style of goalkeeper:
"It is one of the reasons why I wanted to join this club. I know the style of Pep and I love to see how Man City play football. I think I have the quality to also show this performance... I think I am a modern goalkeeper, good with my feet and a good shot stopper. But I think I am not at my highest level now, so I hope Xabi [Mancisidor] can help me a lot."
On his competitive nature:
"I think I am a good teammate and I make a lot of jokes! But on the pitch, I want to win every game. Whether it is a training game or a real game, I am ambitious and I want to reach the top."
On Ederson, Ortega said:
"I have watched him a lot of times in the Premier League and the Champions League. He has one or two assists with the long ball and that is one of the things I like about goalkeepers – when they have a really good long ball. He is a very good goalkeeper."
On the change between playing to avoid relegation and playing to win titles:
"I think the last two years I played to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga, so it is totally new for me to play for a title in the Premier League, also in the Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup. It is really interesting, but I am looking forward to it and I am ready."
Speaking on the move, Director of Football Txiki Begiristain said:
"This is a very good deal for City. Stefan has excellent pedigree – his career speaks for itself. We are signing a goalkeeper who has vast experience, and he will help us in our quest for more trophies. He has joined to compete with the other goalkeepers and help our youngsters, so it’s a transfer we are really pleased to have secured."
Picking up a goalkeeper with the quality of Ortega on a free transfer represents an underrated piece of business by the club's executives – and should, in theory, bridge the gap in quality between Ederson and the second choice – providing greater competition between the sticks.
Written by: @NA1907
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