In a move that shows how much influence Pep Guardiola is already enjoying at Manchester City, Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen is reportedly on the verge of joining him at the Etihad.
The Telegraph are reporting on Wednesday night/Thursday morning that Man City are close to reaching an agreement with the Spanish league leaders – believed to be somewhere in the region of £20million – for the German international’s services.
Liverpool have also been strongly linked with the 23 year old – and, as per the report, made a similar offer to that of their Premier League rivals – but the player is apparently eager to join up with Pep Guardiola at the highly respected manager’s new club.
Ter Stegen was signed from Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer of 2014 for a fee of €12million. However, he has been used primarily as Barcelona’s cup and European goalkeeper – with manager Luis Enrique preferring to utilise Chilean international Claudio Bravo in their league fixtures.
It is a series of events that has led to ter Stegen starting in just 41 games for Barcelona since his arrival – compared to the 67 played by Bravo in the same period. The German played in last year’s Champions League final, but not being the club’s undisputed number one has begun to irritate him.
Speaking to German TV channel Sport1 last week, ter Stegen admitted that he found the situation “difficult“, saying:
“It’s difficult because you don’t have the rhythm you’d like to have. It’s my goal to play more often. Should the situation remain like it is now, you’d have to talk at some point. In the long run, it’s difficult for a keeper of my age.”
His frustration is understandable given the high regard he is held in across Europe – a goalkeeper of his calibre and potential deserves better than to be used merely as a cup goalkeeper. Especially if he has notions of dislodging Manuel Neuer in the German national side.
It is a situation that has not gone unnoticed by Germany’s goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke.
Speaking to German publication Kicker this week, Köpke gave his opinion on Barcelona’s “two goalkeeper” model:
“They have opted for this model for now, and they can’t complain. Even though both keepers apparently are not that satisfied with it.”
With Capital One Cup hero Willy Caballero set to leave the Etihad this summer, ter Stegen will (assuming the move is completed) battle it out with Joe Hart for the first choice role next season.
Or, at least, that is the plan. The emergence of Jack Butland has put Hart’s long term position as England’s number one into jeopardy – the 28 year old (29 next month, in fact) may decide to move on if he feels that ter Stegen is to be signed as his replacement, rather than his competition.
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