According to multiple reports, including The Guardian and ESPN FC, Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is considering an offer to join Major League Soccer club NYCFC this summer when his Man City contract expires.
For USMNT fans, the buried lede in these reports is that the move is being considered in part thanks to a possible promotion for 24-year-old American international Zack Steffen, who could reportedly be set for a move to Man City’s backup role after his loan spell at Fortuna Dusseldorf expires this summer, according to ESPN FC journalist Mark Ogden.
Steffen is currently on the shelf with a frustrating knee injury that has seen him return to Manchester for further tests, and Fortuna has struggled defensively in general this season, sitting 16th in the 18-team Bundesliga table having conceded 49 goals in 23 matches. Still, he has clearly done enough to impress Guardiola and could be given a chance to compete for a backup job alongside 21-year-old Ari Mujic who is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest.
That is excellent news for the prospects of Steffen moving forward, although it would be tough for USMNT fans to justify having their first-choice goalkeeper riding the bench for full seasons at a time. Still, the fact that his name is in consideration for a top Premier League side is positive news for sure.
Bravo, now 36 years old, has seen very little game action over the past few seasons. He has served as the domestic Cup goalkeeper for Manchester City but otherwise is squarely in a backup role. Ederson has even been prioritized in the Champions League, with Bravo seeing action in just three European matches the past few seasons. Still, he remains first choice for the Chilean national team having started all four of their late 2019 friendlies after missing out on the summer’s Copa America recovering from an Achilles injury. He also proved his worth recently, starting the League Cup final against Aston Villa on Sunday and making two saves including a critical 88th minute stop on a header by Bjorn Engels to maintain the 2-1 lead.
NYCFC would be a natural landing spot for Bravo, who has backed up Ederson the past three seasons and seen just seven Premier League appearances in that span. The MLS club is owned partly by Manchester City and the two have a strong working relationship. Steffen moved from MLS side Columbus Crew to Man City last summer for $7 million.