Getty Images

After missing out on the World Cup and currently pushing Middlesbrough to promotion, United States international Zack Steffen is set to leave Manchester City, he told the The Philadelphia Inquirer. Joining Manchester City in 2019, the 27 seemed set to be the USMNT number one for years to come but after a loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf and then being limited to mostly cup appearances while with Manchester City, Steffen went in search of playing time to prepare for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

While he became the starter at Middlesbrough in the Championship, injuries and performance saw him miss the World Cup roster entirely while Matt Turner shined in net. Turner is in a similar situation to Steffen's as a backup for Arsenal but his performances in Europa League and the League Cup were enough to see him handed the No. 1 shirt for the World Cup.

For Steffen to regain the job, he would need to have regular playing time at a higher level, something he seems open to pursuing.

"I don't think I'll go back. No, I want to be playing," Steffen said. "Although I had a great time at City and I love those guys, and obviously an amazing club, I don't really have any plans to go back."  

With Boro only three points off of gaining automatic promotion to the Premier League, there is certainly a chance that Steffen may stay there if the team is promoted and can work out a deal with City. Steffen is under contract with City until 2025 but with the club already signing a backup keeper to replace him in Stefan Ortega, they likely knew that Steffen leaving was a possibility if his loan went well.

If Middlesbrough aren't promoted, that's when his next destination gets a little murky but there will be teams in need of goalkeepers during the summer. A key detail here is that Steffen is rising to the challenge of regaining his spot in the national team. During the summer, Gregg Berhalter challenged all of his keepers to find regular playing time during the summer before Steffen and Ethan Horvath went on loan to the Championship, but after missing out on the World Cup, Steffen could've easily returned to City to sit on the bench. But instead with playing time, he could keep himself in the mix to start during the 2026 World Cup where he could even play in his home state of Pennsylvania.