Ready for more MLS vs Europe debates? Of course you are.
Yesterday it was reported that New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga will be sold to an unnamed Premier League club very soon. It has since been revealed that the unnamed club is Chelsea, and that the defending champions could officially unveil Miazga as soon as tomorrow. According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea will be paying in the neighborhood of $5 million for the player.
The 20 year old central defender has earned 23 caps for the United States at the youth level and one for Poland at the U18 level. He was part of the U20 World Cup squad that advanced to the semifinals before getting knocked out by Serbia. Miazga officially declared for the US last year and earned his first cap with the senior team in November in a 6-1 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a World Cup qualifier.
Miazga has a Polish passport, meaning he won’t have to deal with the work permit process.
Initial reaction to the move focused on Chelsea’s habit of buying promising young talent and immediately loaning them out to other clubs. In some cases, like Mohamed Salah, there has been an impression that players were brought in primarily to prevent other clubs from signing them. Yet Sports Illustrated is reporting that an immediate loan deal isn’t in the cards and the Miazga will be put into first team contention right away.
Whether or not he’s given that opportunity will determine how well MLS will have made out of the deal (transfer fee notwithstanding). If he ends up getting significant first team minutes, the story will be that of a player who came out of an MLS academy system, worked his way into the club’s senior squad, and then parlayed his performances there into a move to the Premier League. That would bolster Major League Soccer’s case that the league is starting to churn out world class talent and isn’t just a retirement league for aging European stars. If he doesn’t get that chance, though, then it will just confirm several talking points for the league’s loudest critics.