It’s official. After weeks of wondering whether or not Jack Harrison would make his way to England, Manchester City FC announced Tuesday they have purchased the rights to the 21-year-old winger from New York City FC. The club reports that Harrison has signed a three and a half year deal with Manchester City, although the exact details of the contract have not been divulged at this time. That being said, Goal.com is reporting that NYCFC will receive a $6 million transfer fee, and that the deal also includes a sizable sell-on clause.
While Harrison is officially signed to a Premier League squad, it does not look like he will be seeing any playing time in England’s top flight this season. That’s because he has been subsequently loaned out to Championship side Middlesbrough — managed by Tony Pulis — who have aspirations of promotion this season. How Jack will fit in with Pulis’ lineup and playing style remains to be seen, but it’s clear the manager and club had their eyes set on Jack, and were willing to accept this loan deal rather than getting involved in a bidding war with other English clubs. Harrison has already been announced by Middlesbrough as well:
Beyond the facts of this deal, it’s important to point out that Jack will indeed be missed in NYC. The No. 1 drat pick in the 2016 SuperDraft, Harrison became a fan favorite right away, making an immediate impact in his rookie season once he returned from injury. A former Generation Adidas player, Jack scored a total of 14 goals and tallied 13 assists in 55 appearances for NYCFC. Harrison placed third overall in MLSsoccer.com’s 24 under 24 rankings in 2017, after placing second overall in his rookie campaign.
Both Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira shared touching sentiments:
Reyna said: “Jack is an exciting talent, who leaves New York with our warmest wishes.
“It’s a testament to our coaching, training and scouting staff that they have helped to develop Jack into a player who has garnered interest from various clubs in Europe. It speaks to the future of our Club and soccer in the U.S. We scouted Jack from an early age and he’s now made appearances for England U21s.
“Of course, it’s sad to see Jack go but at the same time, we recognize this is an opportunity that he felt ready for and wanted. Most importantly, we’re extremely confident that we’re heading into this new season with a very strong squad.
”We have great improvements across the team after several exciting signings during this offseason, including across our front line where we believe we have creative players and goal scorers.
Vieira agreed with Reyna:
Vieira said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with him over the last two seasons and he’s developed very quickly thanks to his hard work and talent. Jack is incredibly passionate about the game and is always looking to improve himself.
“We wish Jack all the very best as he begins the next chapter of his career. We’re all looking forward to following his progress in Europe.”
In addition to these well wishes and heartfelt praise for Jack, the club also put together a “Thank You, Jack” tribute video for his two seasons in the Bronx:
While his talent and impact will no doubt be missed, it bears keeping in mind Harrison will be leaving a very crowded attacking group heading into the 2018 season. His departure will open up possibilities for newcomers like Ismael Tajouri, Jo Inge Berget, and another fan-favorite in sophomore Jonathan Lewis. All will be looking to take over as the starting right winger, most likely playing opposite of Jesus Medina — the new Young Designated Player — and in tandem with the captain, David Villa. While it remains to be seen if they can replace, or even improve upon, Harrison’s performance over the last two years, it’s clear that the club has no shortage of options to throw out there.
Still, as someone who’s been a huge fan of Jack Harrison since day one, it is definitely sad to see him go. Hopefully it will become the norm for NYCFC to bring in young, exciting players of Jack’s caliber on a consistent basis. But for now, it stings a little to see the first true blue chipper leave NYC for (potentially) greener pastures in England. Everyone here at Hudson River Blue wishes Jack the best and we hope he takes the Premier League by storm the same way he did Major League Soccer. I’ll leave you with Jack’s farewell speech which was posted by NYCFC earlier today.