If there is confusion to be had around Manchester City’s pursuit of another goalkeeper, it is not that they are looking to Germany again.

Stefan Ortega is being targeted on a free transfer after his contract at relegated Bundesliga side Bielefield expired, and despite what City sources say his arrival would directly impact on current No.2 Zack Steffen. Neither goalkeeper could possibly accept being third choice, so if Ortega comes in it looks almost certain that Steffen would go out.

The two share something in common though in that they both developed in Germany, with Steffen playing at Dusseldorf for a season after joining City from Columbus Crew; the US shotstopper is only the second member of Pep Guardiola’s squad to have earned his spot in Manchester after going out on loan. Ortega has spent his entire career in Germany.

Also read: Man City look to bring in new goalkeeper on free transfer

Those who haven’t been regular watches of Bielefield seem impressed by Ortega’s Youtube compilations, but the very fact that he is coming from the Bundesliga is a green light from City’s point of view. As well as Steffen, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, and Ilkay Gundogan have all come from that league and thrived while there are no doubts that Erling Haaland will do the same.

City’s success rate from the country is all the more remarkable given the theories about the leagues. Some subscribe to the idea of a ‘Bundesliga tax’ whereby attacking players enjoy significantly less success in front of goal when they move to England; there has even been an argument against Haaland working at City on the back of it.

The struggles of Timo Werner, Sebastian Haller and Jadon Sancho all appear to back up the relative struggle when swapping the German top flight for England, while in midfield Liverpool’s much-hailed transfer strategy has not seen them able to get a consistently-good tune out of the £53m Naby Keita.

By contrast, City’s record in Germany is almost flawless going back to Vincent Kompany and Edin Dzeko. De Bruyne and Gundogan helped them win a fourth league title in five years on the final day of the 2021/22 season, while Sane has hardly flourished since moving back to Germany by signing for Bayern Munich.

Whether or not the Bundesliga tax is real, it is not something that has been felt by City as they have found Germany a particularly fruitful market for signing players even if other clubs have struggled to have the same hit rate.

Txiki Begiristain and his team have not let flops elsewhere in the Premier League change their strategy when they see a player they like. Ortega could become the latest example of City simply outperforming their rivals in a key transfer market.


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