Zack_steffen_-_asn_top_-_isi_-_usmnt_-_france_-_john_dorton_-_2018 John Dorton/ISI
News analysis

Steffen nears Man City deal, Weah loan likely, & U-17 roster for Nike friendlies set

Zack Steffen is on the verge of a huge move to Manchester City, but a likely subsequent loan will be most important for him. Brian Sciaretta looks at the deal as well as news on Tim Weah and the U.S. U-17 team. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
November 26, 2018
1:00 PM
THERE WAS quite a bit of news to break in recent days regarding a pair of United States national team players who are part of the new wave of players introduced by interim head coach Dave Sarachan. In addition, the U.S. U-17 team gets set for the Nike Friendlies.

Here is a breakdown of the news

Steffens nears Manchester City deal

Columbus Crew and United States national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen, 23, is nearing a deal to sign with English Premier League powerhouse Manchester City. The news was first reported by The Sun but has since been confirmed by multiple news outlets including The Athletic and ESPN. ASN can confirm the news as well and that the move appears to be in the range of $7 million.

This is not the first notable American player to make a move to an enormous English club in recent years. Matt Miazga joined Chelsea in 2016 and Erik Palmer-Brown signed for Manchester City in 2017.

While Miazga made two Chelsea first team appearances, the typical route for both players following such signings is a series of loans in Europe.

While Manchester City needs a backup goalkeeper at the moment, there are questions about whether or not Steffen can even acquire an English work permit at the moment since he does not hold an EU passport. He has never played a non-friendly international match for the U.S. team and is coming out of Major League Soccer. He would therefore have to go through an appeal process, and that can be uncertain.

His lack of an EU passport also restricts the clubs to where he might be loaned. Many countries have rules which hinder the signing of non-European players.

A loan is likely for Steffen should the deal be finalized. It will be interesting to see where he lands and it remains to be seen which clubs are in need of a goalkeeper.

Girona is a typical landing place for many loaned Manchester City players but Spain limits the number of non-EU players. NAC Breda is also a potential landing spot where he could join former U.S. U-20 teammate Erik Palmer-Brown who is also signed to Manchester City.

The good news for Steffen is that if he can sercure a move to Girona or Toulouse in France (another team in talks to partner with Manchester City), he will likely have a real chance to start as most clubs will not waste a non-EU spot on a backup. 

Loan likely for Tim Weah

Last summer, it appeared likely that Tim Weah was going to head out on loan to get playing time. He had a loan deal arranged but instead elected to remain at Paris St. Germain where he would train with some of the world’s biggest stars.

ASN has heard that the club who was set to take Weah on loan in the summer was AGF Aarhus in Denmark.

After he played initially at the start of the season, minutes have been difficult for Weah recently at Paris St. Germain. Over the weekend, he did not even make the bench for PSG despite Neymar and Kylian Mbappé both being out of action.

Look for Weah to go out on loan this winter. While there are likely to be many teams interested in taking Weah, ASN has also heard that one of the potential clubs for Weah to be Rio Ave in Portugal. Rio Ave is currently in fifth place in Portugal’s top flight.

U.S. U-17s set for Nike Friendlies

The United States U-17 team is currently in Florida ahead of the 2018 Nike Friendlies. The annual tournament is often one of the biggest tests for the U.S. U-17 team and this year the four team tournament will also include Portugal, Turkey and Brazil.

The U.S. team’s schedule is as follows.

U.S. vs. Portugal, Wednesday, Nov. 28 (6:30 p.m. ET)

U.S. vs. Turkey, Friday, Nov. 30 (6:30 p.m. ET)

U.S. vs. Brazil, Sunday, Dec. 2 (5:30 p.m. ET)

All games will be streamed on the U.S. Soccer website.

The U.S. U-17 team is being coached by Shaun Tsakiris on an interim basis. Tsakiris has been filling in since John Hackworth left over the summer to take the Louisville City FC.

The U.S U-17 team is preparing for next year’s CONCACAF Championships which will serve as the qualifying tournament for the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Peru which will take place in October.

Roster by Position (Club or College; Hometown; Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Trace Alphin (North Carolina FC; Raleigh, N.C.; 0/0), Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.; 11/0), Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alberta; 3/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 12/0), Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 8/0), Sebastian Falsone (Virginia Development Academy; Warrenton, Va.; 0/0), Jonathan Gomez (FC Dallas; Keller, Texas; 0/0), Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 7/0), Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 11/1), Mason Judge (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; Tampa, Fla.; 10/0), Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.;11/1)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Masango Akale (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Minneapolis, Minn.; 0/0), Andre Luiz Costa (Rayo Vallecano/ESP; Madrid, Spain; 0/0), William Reilly (Atlanta United FC; Decatur, Ga.; 2/0), Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 5/1), Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 14/1), Peter Stroud (West Ham United/ENG; Chester, N.J.; 12/0)

FORWARDS (7):Cameron Dunbar (LA Galaxy; Chula Vista, Calif.; 0/0), Ruben Hernandez (Club Leon/MEX; Manteca, Calif.; 0/0), Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez(Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.; 12/5), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas; 3/0), Daniel Robles (Seattle Sounders FC; White Center, Wash.; 5/0), Alex Villanueva (Seattle Sounders FC; Maple Valley, Wash.; 0/0), Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 3/2)

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