Chelsea loan army: Keep, loan or sell? Matt Miazga (Part 9)

BRUSSEL, BELGIUM - MARCH 14: Matt Miazga of RSC Anderlecht during the Croky Cup match between RSC Anderlecht and KRC Genk at Lotto Park on March 14, 2021 in Brussel, Belgium (Photo by Herman Dingler/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
BRUSSEL, BELGIUM - MARCH 14: Matt Miazga of RSC Anderlecht during the Croky Cup match between RSC Anderlecht and KRC Genk at Lotto Park on March 14, 2021 in Brussel, Belgium (Photo by Herman Dingler/BSR Agency/Getty Images) /

In Part 8 of this series, I broke down Ian Maatsen’s career at Chelsea and discussed what his future in football looks like. For those who haven’t read the introductory piece to this series, a different player will be the subject of a new article every day. I began with goalkeepers and am currently in the process of working my way up the pitch, with each position group being sorted in order by the way in which they appear on the club’s website.

As I move on with the loan army series, I continue the deep dive into the defensive loanees with Matt Miazga. Miazga is one of the most peculiar cases in the loan army as his signing was relatively unwarranted given his inexperience. He became the American face at Chelsea before Christian Pulisic, despite only spending a brief period at the club itself. Miazga’s signing was undoubtedly an attempt by the Blues to win over the American audience; nevertheless, he is a very talented footballer.

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What does Matt Miazga’s Chelsea career look like?

Miazga is perhaps the latest bloomer on this list. A native of New Jersey in the United States, the towering centerback began his official football career at the age of 14. He joined the New York Red Bulls academy in 2009 where he played for four years. Miazga earned his professional call up in 2013  after dedicating his future to the club and turning down an offer to play at the college level for the University of Michigan. He played 34 matches for the MLS side across two seasons before Chelsea made a shocking deadline day move in the winter of 2016.

He would go on to see out the rest of the 2015/16 season with the Blues’ senior side. Miazga is a rarity on this list as he never played a single match as a part of the academy—although he did play in one U21 and U23 match for fitness purposes. The American made his first matchday squad in the UCL loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

He went on to debut following injuries to John Terry and Gary Cahill, starting alongside Branislav Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta and Baba Rahman at the back in the Blues’ 4-0 victory over Aston Villa. Miazga impressed spectators and Guus Hiddink, so much so he was rewarded with another start against Swansea City. A poor 45 minutes against the Swans saw him removed at halftime and although a bit harsh, effectively ended his career with Chelsea.

Miazga spent the remainder of the 2015/16 campaign out of the side before going out on loan for the next two seasons to Vitesse. This was the most successful spell of his career. The centerhalf played in 72 matches for the Dutch club, scoring an impressive five goals and racking up two assists in that time. From there, he was sent out to Nantes where he flopped for reasons unknown. Miazga made nine appearances in Ligue 1 before being recalled and sent to Reading for six months.

Reading was clearly impressed by the American defender during his initial loan where he played in 18 games. The Championship side requested his services during the following season. Miazga played almost 2,000 minutes during 2019/20, thus justifying his need for a bigger challenge. He made the temporary move over to Anderlecht in late 2020. Miazga has been a crucial part of Les Mauves et Blancs’ defense, starting 25 of a possible 31 games. He’s helped Anderlecht creep into the top four of the Jupiler Pro League, a few points in reach of potential UCL football next season.

This begs the question: what does Chelsea do with Miazga this summer?

Verdict: Sell

Still just 25, Miazga has a lot of potential and can undoubtedly help some teams in Europe’s top flights. He’s been a solid defender in the Championship and Belgian first division, proving he can also hold his own in the Premier League when at his absolute best (despite a small sample size). He has just one-year left on his contract come this summer and the simple fact he’s American is obsolete now Pulisic is at Stamford Bridge. A move away allows Chelsea to make a profit off the centerback and it gives Miazga a chance at career continuity.

Next. Chelsea loan army: Keep, loan or sell? Ian Maatsen (Part 8). dark

Remember to check back with The Pride of London each and every day as I dive into the largely uncharted world of Chelsea’s famous loan army. Part 10’s subject is defender Victor Moses.