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Chelsea

Matt Miazga’s future at Chelsea and the US national team

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Matt Miazga is an upcoming center-back from the United States. The youngster started his youth career at New York Red Bulls in 2009 and progressed to the MLS outfit’s first team four years later in 2013.

He went on to feature in 34 league games for the New York-based club before Chelsea came calling for his signature in the 2016 winter transfer window and made him a Blue. By the time he arrived at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho, then in his second stint as Chelsea boss, had been sacked after a string of poor results. And the Blues had installed the Dutch manager Guus Hiddink for his second spell as the club’s interim boss.

The Dutchman steadied the ship and after ensuring the club’s Premier League status, started giving chances to youngsters in the squad. Miazga was one of the beneficiaries of Hiddink’s policy and went on to make two first team appearances for the Blues last season.

He made his senior Chelsea debut in a 4-0 thrashing of Aston Villa at Villa Park and then made a second half substitute appearance in the following game against Swansea when he came on for another youngster, Kenedy.

Miazga didn’t light the two games on fire with his displays, but he did appear to be a good centre-back. He is still far from being a sure fire starter for Chelsea but chances are if he continues to develop his game he will be in contention sooner rather than later.

It is to Miazga’s great fortune that Chelsea have appointed a tactically strong manager in Antonio Conte and the Italian’s intense focus on drilling defensive discipline should be a great learning experience for the youngster.

Conte’s Juventus and his current Italian national team have been a delight to watch for purists who hold defensive organisation at a pedestal. And it is clear that a young player can only flourish by learning from someone of Conte’s calibre.

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However, going by Chelsea’s track record of loaning out their young prospects to clubs across Europe, Miazga’s fate remains unclear for now. He could be the next Chelsea prospect on another loan spell to Vitesse in the Dutch Eredevisie or might be loaned out to a lower league side in the English football pyramid. Whatever may the case be, Miazga should make the most of his opportunities and try to impress his manager in order to come under contention for a spot with the Chelsea first team.

Miazga had represented Poland Under-18 side early in his career and was eligible to represent the Poland national team at the international level owing to his ancestry. However, Jurgen Klinsmann tied him to the Stars and Stripes by awarding him a cap in a 2018 World Cup qualifier late last year.

The former Germany international didn’t call up Miazga for the recently concluded Copa America Centenario, probably due to the defender’s paucity of first team minutes since his transfer to Chelsea.

Nevertheless, there is no denying that strong showings in the upcoming season will strengthen Miazga’s case for a call-up to the United States national team when they begin their next set of international fixtures.

 

Chelsea: Top 5 signings of the Premier League era

[tps_header]Chelsea’s transition from a fashionable club from London to one of the superpowers of world football has largely been down to huge investment from billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

However, merely splashing millions does not automatically turn a club into a winning machine and Chelsea have to be credited for using their resources in an astute manner.

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Via – Wikimedia Commons

Admittedly, there have been a couple of poor signings made by the Blues over the years but more often than not, the London side have got it right and here is our selection of the top five Chelsea signings during the Premier League era.[/tps_header]

5. Claude Makelele – £16m from Real Madrid

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Via – Wikimedia Commons

The epitome of an ‘unsung hero’, Claude Makelele was an integral part of any team he featured in and it was no different during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Makelele was controversially sold by Madrid to Chelsea back in 2003 for £16million after President Florentino Perez had labeled the Frenchman as distinctly average and it goes without saying that the decision proved to be a huge aberration on the part of the Spanish giants.

What was Madrid’s loss proved to be Chelsea’s gain as Makelele managed to establish himself as a key player at Stamford Bridge and arguably played a huge role in facilitating the Blues’ rise as one of the biggest teams in the world.

Unlike at Madrid, Makelele was hugely appreciated figure at London and he was given a hero’s send off during his departure in 2008 after making over 200 appearances for the Blues.

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Chelsea Legends: Peter Osgood

[tps_header]“You ain’t got no history” is the chant made by opposition fans to mock Chelsea for their apparent lack of success before the Roman Abramovich era but it is safe to argue that the chant is not exactly accurate.

Yes, Chelsea did not win trophies in such a regular fashion as they do now – before the arrival the Russian billionaire but the Blues were considered one of the most fashionable clubs in England and boasted a host of top quality players.

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Via – Wikimedia Commons

Peter Bonetti, Alan Hudson, Charlie Cooke and Jimmy Greaves were just some of the great names that graced Chelsea but arguably the most adored of the lot was The “King of Stamford Bridge” Peter Osgood.

An icon to Chelsea fans, Osgood was a fearsome striker who won the hearts of everyone who saw him play. During his time at Chelsea, Osgood scored 150 goals for the club and his feat of scoring during every round of the FA Cup in 1970 is an achievement that is yet to be matched till date.[/tps_header]

Early Career

Born in 20th February, 1947, Osgood fell in love with football at a very young age and played regularly in school. After impressing at school level, Osgood was selected for a District team and joined the Spital Youth club.

In order to chase his dreams of turning professional, the aspiring striker applied for a trial at Reading but was not selected for a youth contract while he rejected the offer which was put in by Arsenal.

Soon, it was Chelsea who managed to capture the then 17-year old in 1964 and the Blues decision to snap him up proved to be one of the best decisions the club have ever made.

Osgood made an early impression at Chelsea by scoring 30 goals in just 20 matches for the reserve team during the 1964/65 season and such a wonderful run of form unsurprisingly earned him a call up to the senior side by manager Tommy Docherty – aged just 18.

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Chelsea and The United States of America

[tps_header]When Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took over the reins of Chelsea back in 2003, many were a bit suspicious as to his intentions with the Blues.

While fans were excited at the prospect of such a wealthy owner pumping millions into the club, a few had suspected that Abramovich was looking to use the London side only as a medium to earn publicity.

However more than a decade on from his ownership at Chelsea, one can safely say that Abramovich indeed had a long term vision with the Blues and he has single handedly turned the fashionable club from London into superpowers of Europe today.

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(Via – Wikimedia Commons)

Considering Chelsea’s rise over the years under Abramovich, it has been no surprise to see the Blues earn legions of fans thousands of miles away in Africa, Asia and various parts of Europe, and in recent times – the Premier League giants have also gained a sizeable fan base in the United States.

With the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool successfully exploiting the US market in an attempt to grow a larger fan base as well as earn extra revenue over the years, Chelsea have also followed suit in recent times and with the growing interest of the ‘Beautiful Game’ in the USA – the Blues will surely be able to further enhance their popularity in the coming years.[/tps_header]

Tours in the United States

Chelsea have toured the United States twice in the last three years and the two trips have gone a long way in helping the Blues grow their status among the fans in the nation.

During the 2012/13 season, then defending European champions, Chelsea, took part in a 12-day tour in the United States and played against the likes of Seattle Sounders, the MLS All-Stars, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan.

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Their match against Milan attracted crowds of up to 58,000 in the Miami Gardens Stadium in Florida and the tour was deemed a huge success due to the large interest generated while the fans were also treated to a firsthand view of new stars such as Eden Hazard along with big names of the game like John Terry, Fernando Torres among others.

Chelsea returned to United States once again that season to contest two post season friendlies against Manchester City in St. Louis, Missouri as well as in New York.

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The following season, Chelsea agreed to participate in the star studded International Champions Cup pre-season tournament alongside the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter. Although the Blues were knocked out of the tournament in the group stages, they were able to attract crowds of up to 68,000 people.

Chelsea did not make a return to the USA at the start of the current campaign as manager Jose Mourinho deemed that the exertions would take a toll on his players following a rigorous World Cup campaign.

Nonetheless, the Blues are scheduled to return following the end of the 2014/15 season and there have been talks about a post season game as well.

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Chelsea 2015 Transfer Rumors

[tps_header]After a decent season last year, manager Jose Mourinho had stated that his Chelsea side would be challenging for the title during the current campaign and it has certainly proven to be the case.

Mourinho brought in the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis to the club over the summer and in doing so, the Blues have become a world class side who are more than capable of giving champions Manchester City a run for their money.

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Via – Wikimedia Commons

However given the unpredictable nature of the Premier League, even Chelsea’s brilliant side have stuttered in recent times and the Blues are anything but assured of triumph in the league – especially with Manchester City undergoing a rapid renaissance in recent times.

Therefore, there has been talk in the media that Mourinho will look to use the January transfer market to further reinforce his side and here are the top five players who have been linked with the Blues so far.

Chelsea 2015 Transfer Rumors

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Lionel Messi – Barcelona

Quoted Price – £200million

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Via – Wikimedia Commons

It was widely accepted that Lionel Messi would never contemplate leaving his beloved Barcelona after the club had done so much for him throughout his career.

However in recent times, such views have been changing due to the Argentinean superstar’s perceived unhappiness at the Nou Camp and rumors regarding his exit from the club have intensified more than ever during the current campaign.

Reports in Spain have widely claimed that Messi has fallen out with manager Luis Enrique and according to respected Spanish journalist, Guillem Balague, the 27-year old is closer than he has ever been to an exit from Barcelona.

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If indeed Messi does decide to leave Barcelona, there are very few clubs that can afford him but recently, it had been reported that financial superpowers Chelsea were interested in taking the Barcelona star on board if he became available.

A fee of around a whopping £200million has been quoted and despite the astronomical price in question, Chelsea most certainly have the financial power to dish out such a deal.

While the Messi rumors have created quite a buzz in the media, Chelsea have gone on to deny that they will be looking to sign the Argentine superstar but strange things have happened in the transfer market over the past few years and one cannot rule out the Blues making a swoop for the superstar now or in the summer.

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