Chelsea have a history of making questionable and somewhat random signings, and Matt Miazga was certainly cast under the net one of those when he signed on a 4-and-a-half-year deal from New York Red Bulls for £3.5 million in 2016. But have we been unfair making this assumption here? Does he possess the necessary qualities to play for the club?
Perhaps he was judged purely due to the fact he was unknown. But, when you look at it; it was the signing that we had grown used to at Chelsea, especially as he was initially signed for squad depth, rather than as a youth player. He came straight into the first team squad that season as a backup, making just two appearances.
His immediate future became obvious, he would be a player with clear talent, but as a young player he was signed purely for numbers and would be another who would join the massive array of talent in the Chelsea loan army. A signing that lacked direction? Or maybe a genius signing who would turn out to be a real coup for the blues scouting team? That, of course, remains to be seen.
Miazga, now 22, has been a regular at Chelsea’s Dutch ‘feeder club’ Vitesse, making 55 appearances and being named captain along the way. During this time, he has established himself as a regular for the USA national side recently making seven appearances for them.
As far as modern-day defenders go Miazga has a lot to offer, as well as his towering presence and ability in the air, he’s a tough defender who is also good on the ball. His ability and promise are certainly not something that anyone can doubt, but does he have enough to break into this Chelsea team?
I spoke to someone who has studied and followed Miazga since a young age, someone who has a real love for American football. I decided to get an American’s view, as it’s all so easy for us to sit here and judge a player, but not given said, player, a close enough watch over the years.
But Pennsylvania based Liam Huntgate has, and he has real belief and praise for New Jersey-born Miazga…
“Miazga spent the first three years of his professional career with the New York Red Bulls, with his final season being enough to gather the attention of Chelsea. At Vitesse, he had little minutes in his first season but became a regular starter towards the end. This most recent season he became team captain, scored three goals, and led his team to a Europa League qualification”.
With his loan ending this season, it seems that it’s now crossroads time for the young American as he considers his own future, Liam continues…
“Matt’s loan is now up, and it seems that he may find himself on loan to a Bundesliga or Premier League team next season, if not in a blue uniform. If not identical, Miazga’s loan situation is very similar and can be compared to that of Andreas Christensen’s. Christensen was sent to Borussia Monchengladbach for two seasons from 2015-2017. Following an impressive debut season, he was voted the team’s Player of the Season ahead of captain Granit Xhaka. Monchengladbach even wished to sign him permanently, but ultimately Chelsea rejected. Following this impressive stint, Christensen returned to Chelsea, and has arguably been one of our best central defenders all season”.
It’s worth noting at this stage that both players are the same age. However, Christensen is now considered a Chelsea regular, whereas if Miazga goes for another loan, he will come back another year older. This does not rule anything out for the American though, and Liam has every faith in his future success…
“With David Luiz having troubles which might see him out the door, Gary Cahill growing older by the minute, and what seems to be a lack of spending from the front office, should our new head coach maintain a back three system, a return to Chelsea for Miazga should come as a surprise to none”.
Liam believes in the ability of Miazga and rightly so, having watched the handful of matches I’ve seen him play myself this season, he has been impressive. With the demand of Chelsea to have instant success and some of the defenders already linked with the club this summer (Lascelles, Koulibaly and Lenglet to name a few), I think breaking into the current Chelsea squad is near impossible for Miazga right now. But maybe we should not write the American international off just yet, a Bundesliga loan this term could see him advance and turn into the complete defender that Liam believes him to be.
Written by Simon Phillips and Liam Huntgate