After signing for the current Premier League champions Chelsea, 20-year-old centre back Matt Miazga is likely to start looking up simple phrases in Dutch because it is almost certain that the young American will spend the next few years on loan with various small clubs in the Eredivisie. Going from New York Red Bulls to one of Europe’s biggest clubs is too fast of a jump for Miazga.
Though Chelsea desperately need a dependable central defender, Miazga will not be the answer for a few years, and his development will likely suffer as a result of pressure and lack of confidence. Miazga was a dominant defender in MLS last season, and at 20-years-old, being the anchor of the defence of one of the league’s best teams was putting him on the radar of USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann. Chelsea are infamous for signing loads of young starlets and either burying them in their reserve teams or loaning them out, particularly to Vitesse of the Netherlands. It is virtually guaranteed that the young defender will not get a long run in the first team of the Blues for a while, so that will lead USA supporters to question why he made such a big move.
In the past, there are countless talented youngsters who have not had a good chance to break into the Blues’ starting eleven. Currently, Ola Aina, Abdul Baba Rahman, Bertrand Traore, Christian Atsu, and Patrick Bamford are players who have the talent to play regularly for mid-table Premier League teams, but they are still on Chelsea’s books, either playing for the reserves or loaned out to other teams. It looks like Miazga will be the next youngster to join that perennially expanding list, and it will certainly have a negative impact on his career for both club and mainly country.
Matt Miazga’s potential is seemingly limitless due to his young age and first team experience in the MLS. Playing in the Netherlands or maybe in the Championship will not help him progress as a player, which is the single thing that Jurgen Klinsmann will want to see from him. Competition in the Eredivisie and in the Championship is pretty much just as good as in the MLS, so his abilities will not be truly tested as they would be if he moved to another Premier League side where he could play regularly, such as Watford, Norwich, or West Brom.
With Kurt Zouma and Papy Djilobodji in front of the American as backups to John Terry and Gary Cahill on the depth chart, Miazga will have to consistently impress Guus Hiddink in training, which is a lot of pressure to put on a man barely out of his teenage years. From his performances back in the States, Miazga does seem ready for Premier League football, but in order for him to make the USMNT squad for the next big tournament, he has to play regularly and show improvement, but if he stays in Chelsea’s reserve teams or goes on loan to a mediocre league, he will not fulfill his potential. This move to Chelsea was a mistake, and both the player and his nation’s team will feel the effects of the transfer.