Chelsea are preparing for the future following reports that the club are closing in on signing 20-year-old American centre-back Matt Miazga from the New York Red Bulls. The Blues recently tied defenders Gary Cahill, 30, and Branislav Ivanovic, 31, to one-year deals and could yet to the same with John Terry, so youth is, perhaps, needed.
Chelsea have a club policy where after a player turns 30, their contracts run on a year-to-year basis, meaning the club could cut ties with older players almost instantaneously. Chelsea have shown signs that they are preparing for a new era in recent years with the signings of Kurt Zouma and Baba Rahman, both only 21, and by promoting Ola Aina, 19, to the first-team. By signing the young Miazga, Chelsea could have their back four set for years to come.
The Tim Howard reign as the face of American Football in the Premier League could be coming to a close soon. As the reliable goalkeeper looks towards the exit this summer, one of the United States’ newest young stars appears to be on his way in via West London. In 2015, Miazga finished fourth in voting for Major League Soccer Defender of the Year and was named as MLSsoccer.com’s Breakout Player of the Year. He made his debut for the U.S. national team in November and in December he was named as U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year.
Physical. At 6’4,” the Yank is an immense threat in the air on set pieces. Not only is he an aerial threat, but he also established himself as one of the MLS’s premier tacklers. His deep concentration and awareness in the defensive zone helps him use his big body to full advantage. His coverage abilities are good, too, as he shut down NYCFC striker David Villa in this year’s New York derby. He likes to keep the passes short in the defensive third to set a good, controlled pace of play and create attacking chances for his side, but has shown he can clear the ball when necessary. Miazga also has a lot of fire while on the pitch and is not afraid to show it, as he’s not shy on clashing with opposing player in between whistles. The only downside to the 20-year-old’s passion and physicality is he commits fouls often and lacks discipline.
Absolutely. With a Terry departure on the horizon and Cahill and Ivanovic not getting any younger, Chelsea need to turn to young players like Miazga. His commanding attitude and physical nature shows signs that he could lead the back line after Terry departs. His aerial ability would be a good replacement for when Cahill, one of the best in the air in the Premier League, leaves Stamford Bridge. Also, while Zouma is a great talent, he needs a commanding presence alongside him in central defence. A Miazga – Zouma duo holding down the back four could be a pair that we talk about for years to come.
Chelsea appear to be pulling off this transfer for the fairly low price of £3.5 million. With Miazga just 20., Chelsea have bagged a player with a high ceiling for a relatively low fee. Perhaps the American footballer stereotype has hindered the number of clubs interested in the youngster and lowered his price tag.