Scout Report – Who is Matt Miazga, Chelsea’s latest target?

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Updated: January 27, 2016

According to reports, Chelsea are all set to sign New York Red Bulls’ US International defender Matt Miazga within the next 24 hours.

Miazga was initially expected to be loaned back but recent reports suggest that he would stay with the Blues at least until the summer. He will be the second player to join the first team ranks this week, along with Alexandre Pato who has landed in London for his medical.

When interest in Miazga first came to the fore, most fans – except for the MLS regulars – weren’t particularly fazed by the prospect of signing a ‘promising’ player from the MLS, given how the much hyped talent coming out of the league has petered out in Europe.

His signing is not expected to go down the same way as that Papy Djilobodji, who was signed by the Blues in the summer and then loaned to Werder Bremen this month having found minimal playing time.

With Miazga all but confirmed, Chelsea Index takes a look at why Blues fans should be excited.

WHO IS MATT MIAZGA?

Mateusz Miazga is a 6’4” Polish-American defender playing for the NY Red Bulls. Having represented both US and Poland in youth levels, he made the decision finally when he was picked by Jurgen Klinsmann in November for a World Cup qualifier, effectively tying him up and ensuring he represents the US in the future.

He is hailed as the most promising center back ever to have emerged from the MLS and the reason for his reputation is the fact that he had established himself as a key presence in NYRB head coach Jesse Marsch’s backline last season when he was merely 20 years old.

The fact that Miazga holds dual citizenship – US and Poland – means that he will be eligible for a work permit if Chelsea decide to hold on to him for the remainder of the season before making a decision about his future.

WHAT ABOUT MIAZGA’S PLAYING STYLE?

As mentioned above, he is a towering physical presence, standing 6’4” tall with a good leap on him. However, as an exception to the usual norm with tall defenders, he is fast on the ground as well.

Miazga is an enthusiastic tackler – he likes to come out aggressively and get the ball. He is also good at building from the back, which is nowadays a key requirement for modern defenders. He can string together good short passes or launch one up to the forwards equally effectively.

In terms of his technique, he isn’t there quite yet – but the signs are promising. He has been improving at a healthy rate and while he might not yet break into the first team, he could provide quality depth for the remainder of the season with Gary Cahill too reported to be mooting a transfer.

However, not everything is so rosy for Miazga, as he still needs to work on his defensive awareness. He would benefit playing alongside an experienced partner to learn to cut down his mistakes, but with John Terry counting his days down at Chelsea, that doesn’t seem like happening without a loan.

Also, as good as a distributor as he is from the back, his inexperience often leads him to make wrong choices and misplaced passes.

The best aspect of his skill set is the fact that he doesn’t have to be paired with a specific type of center back. He can be paired with a fast center back or with a slower, physically imposing center backs – being equally adept to playing with either.

At the rumored price $5M, Miazga is an absolute steal. He might not end up being a first team player for Chelsea ever, but with his promise he is bound to get Chelsea a profit and keep the FFP train going.

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