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Who is… Matt Miazga? Chelsea set to welcome first US import

| 28.01.2016

An American has never played for Chelsea in the Premier League but that could all be about to change with the arrival of Matt Miazga in west London.

The defender is set to join from MLS side New York Red Bulls for a fee reported to be in the region of £3.5m, an outlay that could prove to be a good bit of business from the English champions in time given Miazga’s potential.

The 20-year-old is highly rated in his home country, having formed a regular part of the Red Bulls’ defence that topped the regular season in 2015 to claim the MLS Supporters Shield.

Miazga proved somewhat of a lucky charm for Jesse Marsch’s men that year, helping them to clean sheets in 11 of his 38 league appearances. Compare that to the zero shut-outs they achieved in the six games he didn’t feature and it tells a story.

While the potential Blues signing towers over most other on the pitch at 6’4” tall, he is by no means just a physical presence with little else to offer.

The New Jersey-born centre-back also has pace to burn and did an excellent job to keep former Barcelona star David Villa quiet during the New York derby last year, no mean feat.

His displays in a Red Bulls shirt, a club whose academy he joined in 2009, have also earned him international recognition.

Through his parents he was eligible to play for Poland, who called him up to their under-18 squad back in 2012, but it is the Stars and Stripes of the US that he has worn since.

Representing the country at under-18, under-20 and under-23 level, it was only last year that Jurgen Klinsmann decided Miazga was ready for the step-up.

The German boss handed the defender his first senior cap against St Vincent and the Grenadines, where the US ran out comprehensive 6-1 winners, as Miazga became the youngest player to be capped by the World Cup winning striker.

On joining Guus Hiddink’s men, he could slot straight into the first team squad with work permits not an issue due his Polish heritage and the potential departure of wantaway stopper Gary Cahill.

More likely though, Miazga is more of a long-term proposition for the Stamford Bridge outfit, and could have to bide his time before he becomes a Premier League mainstay.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.