Matt Miazga: Profile on Chelsea's new signing
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 30/01/16 2:50pm
Chelsea have confirmed the signing of defender Matt Miazga from New York Red Bulls on a four-and-a-half-year contract - so who is he?
The 20-year-old centre-back was highly rated in Major League Soccer after a superb campaign last season, and made his international debut for USA in November.
With Stoke and Leicester thought to have been interested in him in the past too, we look at what Miazga can bring to the Premier League champions…
Name: Matt Miazga
Place of birth: Clifton, New Jersey, USA
Current club: New York Red Bulls
Miazga joined the Red Bulls Academy in 2009 and has progressed through the ranks at the club, winning the US Developmental Academy National Championship with the U16s team in 2012 before making his first-team debut in 2013.
He played a further seven times the following season but it was only in 2015 that Miazga established himself as first choice at the heart of the Red Bulls defence. He made 36 appearances, scoring once, as Jesse Marsch's side won the MLS Supporter's Shield and reached the Eastern Conference final before losing to Columbus Crew.
Although he was born in the US, Miazga's family is of Polish descent and the defender has represented both countries at junior level before ending speculation of which nation he would ultimately plump for when he made his senior debut for the US in a 2018 World Cup qualifier against St Vincent and the Grenadines in November.
Style of play
Standing at 6ft 4in, Miazga is a commanding centre-back who has drawn comparisons to former AC Milan and Manchester United defender Jaap Stam.
Given his height it is no surprise that he is strong in the air but there is much more to his game than that. He showed off his positioning and awareness in the derby with New York City as he kept David Villa quiet throughout.
Indeed, he made 3.7 interceptions per game on average in the MLS last season and is also strong in the tackle. He also has a pass completion rate of 74.3%, not too bad given his penchant for starting attacks with long balls up field.
What his previous manager Jesse Marsch says about him
"I think in many ways he has been one of the best defenders in the league this year and should be considered in that echelon," he told MLS.net. "His starting points are very high - everything from his mentality, to his awareness, to his athleticism - which means his ceiling is very high."
What he says
"I communicate a lot with other defenders; I want to be more of a leader. I'm not afraid of tackling opposing players, but I also like to play with the ball. I can initiate attacks with a series of short passes and also play a long ball straight to the striker. I'm not afraid of taking those risks," he is quoted as saying in FourFourTwo.
"I'm always active when it comes to set-pieces too. I try to find a position to score, using my height and aerial ability. I can jump pretty well, so I'm definitely looking to add more goals to my resume.
"The EPL is a very intriguing proposition. I love that league - it's very competitive and there's a lot of passion involved. Hopefully one day I will have an opportunity to play there. I believe my skillset fits the way football is played there."