New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga is a player with a seemingly limitless ceiling. His performances this season, for both club and country, have seen his talents recognised from across the pond as Chelsea are reportedly now keen on securing his services.
Miazga may only be 20-years-old but he has been labelled as “by far the best young prospect in MLS” by a league scout who went on to add: “He’s got all the potential to be one of the best defenders in the world for over a decade,” according to Four Four Two.
The same publication claims Chelsea, along with Leicester City and Stoke, are interested in bringing the Polish-American centre-back to the Premier League in the near future.
Miazga’s performances at the U20 World Cup with the United States in the summer proved his quality on the world stage and that seems to have attracted interest from Europe.
The player himself is remaining grounded for now, telling Four Four Two: “I’m aware of all those rumors, but at the moment I don’t want to focus on that.
“The ultimate goal is to play on the highest level, but right now I’m happy in New York. I can still grow here and become a better player. When the time comes – I will be ready for Europe.”
The 6ft 4in youngster has yet to decide whether to represent the US or Poland at senior international level with both nations desperate for his services. US U20 coach Tab Ramos recently labelled Miazga as “the future of American soccer”.
And a similar battle looks set to follow at club level as Miazga has plenty of suitors chasing his talents. Chelsea are currently the biggest club linked with the young Red Bulls star and a move could come in January.
Miagza himself has admitted he’s a fan of the Premier League but is remaining grounded for now as he looks to help the Red Bulls to a first ever MLS Cup title in the next month.
“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.”
Should Chelsea make a move for Matt Miazga in January? Is the Red Bulls defender “the future of American soccer”?
Competition: League Cup Fourth Round – Stoke City vs. Chelsea
Venue: Britannia Stadium – Tuesday, October 27 – 19:45 GMT (15:45 ET)
Match Odds: Stoke 5/2 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 21/20
Stoke host Chelsea in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night in what will be another real test for Jose Mourinho and his struggling side.
Stoke had won three on the bounce before Saturday’s 2-0 loss at home to Watford. They will look to pick back up with a win against the League Cup holders here and will be confident considering Chelsea’s poor form.
The Potters sit one point above the Blues in 14th in the Premier League after ten weeks and so it’s tough to call who will come out on top on Tuesday.
Stoke 1-1 Chelsea – This should be a really close game and could be quite a nervy affair. We’re not expecting bundles of goals but Chelsea should be able to do enough to at least earn a draw in 90 minutes, taking the game into extra time – not that either side will want that.
Competition: Premier League – Stoke City vs. Liverpool
Venue: Britannia Stadium – Sunday, August 9 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)
Match Odds: Stoke 12/5 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 6/5
Stoke host Liverpool on Sunday afternoon in their 2015/16 Premier League season opener in what will be a repeat of their final game of the 2014/15 season, in which Stoke stunned Liverpool 6-1 at the Britannia.
That game ensured the Reds ended a disappointing season in disastrous fashion, while the Potters went into the summer in high spirits after a promising campaign.
Mark Hughes has had another impressive summer as far as transfer dealings are concerned and Stoke look to have strengthened, even with the loss of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to Chelsea.
They will be looking to start the year with another win against Liverpool as they look to improve on last season’s ninth placed finish and perhaps bring European football back to the Britannia.
A far from impressive preseason campaign saw the Potters win just two of six games, losing their last three games on the bounce coming into the season opener.
On the other hand, Liverpool come into the new year in excellent form, having not lost any of their six preseason matches.
Brendan Rodgers is under pressure to turn things around at Anfield after a disappointing season last time out, but the losses of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling could make that a tougher task than it seems.
Plenty of new signings have arrived and the test will be getting them to gel quickly as they look to break back into the top four after their sixth-placed finish last season.
Stoke will still be without Bojan, although the playmaker is back in training after missing the final five months of last season. Ryan Shawcross is also ruled out, while Marc Wilson and Marko Arnautovic are doubts. Glen Johnson, who joined on a free from Liverpool this summer, could make his debut at right-back.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has three injury concerns as Jon Flanagan and Daniel Sturridge are ruled out, while Joe Allen is doubtful. New signings Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Christian Benteke are all set to start for the Reds in what will be a new-look side. Roberto Firmino may have to settle for a place on the bench as he is not believed to be fit enough to start.
Stoke’s preseason form: L/W/W/L/L/L
Liverpool’s preseason form: W/W/W/D/W/W
Key Stat: There have been 16 goals in the last three games between the two sides – an average of 5.3 per game.
Key Player: Christian Benteke – Liverpool’s £32.5 million summer arrival will look to start life as a Red with a goal on the way to helping his new side to three points.
Stoke City 2-2 Liverpool – Expecting another open, entertaining game at the Britannia between two sides looking to start the new season with three points. Stoke will be looking to follow up their end of season result with another victory but Liverpool should be out to impress and their new signings should earn them at least a point in this one.
The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season is just a couple of days away as one of the most hotly anticipated days in the football calendar edges ever closer. But for those looking past the opening round of fixtures, there’s another long campaign ahead with drama, thrills and spills guaranteed.
New teams, managers and players have arrived ahead of what looks set to be a close-run season at either end of the table, with sides strengthening across the division over the course of the summer.
The Premier League is almost impossible to predict, but we’re going to have a go anyway because who doesn’t like to sit back at the end of the season and think: ‘Wow. I didn’t see that coming.’
Will Chelsea retain their title? Will Harry Kane manage to replicate his scintillating form from last year? And will Sunderland ever go down? Read on to find out what our editor, Louis East is predicting for the 2015/16 Premier League campaign:
Title winners: Chelsea
Chelsea fully deserved their success last season as they ended up winning the title by eight points, despite a relatively poor end to the campaign by Jose Mourinho’s high standards. They may not have changed too much over the summer, but they didn’t need to. They were easily the best side in the country last time out and should be too strong once more, although they can expect to be pushed right to the end by Manchester City, Arsenal and possibly Manchester United.
Always difficult predicting who will go down before a ball has even been kicked, but three teams have to be selected here. It’s easy to go with all three promoted sides but I’m expecting Bournemouth to hold their own in the top flight and so I think Leicester City will join Watford and Norwich in falling through the trapdoor. Without Nigel Pearson, the Foxes were doomed last year. Now he’s gone, it’s hard to see them staying up. Sunderland are always lingering near the danger zone but Dick Advocaat looked to turn things around and they should survive yet again.
Player of the season: Wayne Rooney
Eden Hazard lit the Premier League up last term but hasn’t looked as sharp so far in preseason and Wayne Rooney’s opportunity to play as the lone striker should see him pick up his first Player of the Year award since the 2009-10 season. He played as a striker that year, netting 26 times, and the England captain should find himself at the heart of everything United do going forward this year as they look to be serious title contenders once more.
Raheem Sterling’s controversial move from Liverpool to Manchester City has seen the player attract plenty of criticism from those in and around football, but his quality cannot be questioned. Still just 20, Sterling has the opportunity to kick on and develop further at City and will look to record his best season yet under Manuel Pellegrini this year.
Golden Boot: Harry Kane
Few could have predicted what Harry Kane went on to achieve during the 2014/15 campaign but the young Spurs forward ended the year with 21 league goals and didn’t even establish himself as a first-team regular until October. He now has a full season to shine and should better his goal tally. Many are predicting his performances will dip, but he only seemed to improve last year and will be a better player from his experiences.
Bournemouth won the Championship in fine style last year, scoring more goals than anyone else with the second best defence in the league. The jump to the Premier League is a big one but there is a sense of real optimism around the club that they can hold their own in the top flight. Eddie Howe is a great young coach and should guide his team well clear of relegation as they look to be this season’s surprise package.
Shock of the season: Brendan Rodgers first to be sacked
Life as Liverpool manager has been tough for Brendan Rodgers. After narrowly missing out on Premier League glory in the 2013/14 season, the Reds dropped down to end last year in sixth, with that final day 6-1 defeat to Stoke one the fans were left devastated by. They start this season at the Britannia but Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling have gone and will leave Rodgers with further problems to fix. A flurry of new signings have arrived again but Rodgers might not have long enough to get them to gel this time around with pressure mounting rapidly.
It was tough to neglect Petr Cech here as the goalkeeper will make Arsenal a much better side, but overall I think Dimitri Payet will prove more important to West Ham than Cech will to Arsenal this year. Payet arrives at the Hammers from Marseille off the back of a stellar season in France as he picked up 17 assists with seven goals in 36 league games. Only Lionel Messi made more successful through-balls in Europe’s top five leagues than Payet and he should ensure West Ham have a year to remember in what will be their last at the Boleyn Ground.
Mark Hughes has done a fine job with Stoke since taking over from Tony Pulis two years ago and doesn’t always receive the praise he deserves. Another fine summer of transfer business has seen the Potters strengthen with the likes of Glen Johnson, Marko Van Ginkel and Ibrahim Afellay arriving. Add that to the fact that Bojan will be back fighting and Hughes should have a Stoke side capable of replicating the stunning performance of Southampton last year.
What are your predictions for the 2015/16 Premier League season?
Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu has settled back in MLS after completing a permanent move from Premier League club Stoke City in January and he is one of many who are desperate to see Major League Soccer thrive.
The 29-year-old Union captain speaks glowingly of the development of MLS and is enjoying his time in Philadelphia.
After joining on loan for the 2014 campaign, Edu returned home to America on a permanent basis in January this year, eight years after being picked first overall in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft by Toronto FC.
After earning the MLS Rookie of the Year award in his first season, Edu then moved to Scotland with Rangers in 2008 and also spent time with Stoke City and Turkish club Bursaspor before returning to MLS, something he is happy about.
“I enjoyed my time thoroughly while I was in Europe and for me, when this opportunity presented itself, it was the best choice,” Edu exclusively told MLSGB this week.
“I always had plans to come back here at some point. It probably happened a bit sooner than maybe expected but it was still a welcome opportunity and one I’m glad I chose.
“This is a league that gave me a start in my career and it’s my home country as well so I’ve always wanted to come back here to help continually push this game forward and make it a big deal.”
He is one of many US Men’s National Team stars to make the move stateside in order to help the league develop in recent years, and Edu knows that the right steps are being taken to ensure the growth of US Soccer continues.
“I think the league is heading in the right direction,” he added. “It’s vastly improved compared to where it was when I first started off playing here and I’m enjoying being back.
“The national team has had success over the past couple of World Cups and that’s drawn more attention to the league from a domestic standpoint, but from a quality standpoint, we’ve been able to attract some quality players from abroad as well as getting some players coming in here at their prime ages.
“There are a lot more soccer-specific stadiums being developed across the country. Every club has an academy system, which is good as it’s developing our youth from a young age and getting them involved in a professional atmosphere, which is obviously going to bode well for soccer as a product of this country.”
Edu is fully committed to the game and all aspects surrounding it. He speaks with confidence about the growth of MLS and is willing to do whatever he can to help those around him succeed.
He is vastly experienced despite being just 29, and is always looking to help the young players develop where he can as the leader of the side.
Asked whether he felt more responsibility being a Designated Player and being the team captain, he replied: “I do. Not necessarily just because I have that role but because of my experiences. I’ve been a part of the national team, I’ve played in Europe in competitions like the Champions League.
“I know a lot of young guys here aspire to do the same thing so I try to help them out in any way possible, and try to create a professional and competitive atmosphere here, and that only bodes well for them as individuals and also for this team going forward.”
Edu has made 46 appearances for the US Men’s National Team to date and despite only playing once in 2014 and missing out on the World Cup squad, he is hoping to get more opportunities now he is playing regularly.
Jurgen Klinsmann last called Edu up to a friendly against Mexico last April but with the Gold Cup just around the corner, he may look at recalling the Union captain.
“I just focus on playing,” Edu said after being asked about a possible USMNT recall. “I think if you’re playing well you’ll get opportunities. Obviously if you’re team’s doing well, that’s a direct reflection of how you’re playing also.
“For me right now, I’m just focused on this team. We had a little bit of a rough start at the beginning of the season but we’ve had a couple wins now and we want to continue and push up the table. I think if we do that, and I continue to play well, then there will be opportunities to get back into the national team.”
Edu has been known as a midfielder for most of his career but Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin has been using him at centre-back – a role Edu admits he is still learning.
“I’ve been playing at the back at lot more this season so it’s something that I’m getting used to. For me personally, I just want the opportunity to be successful so if I’m asked to play in the back, in midfield, as a striker or even in goal, I just want the team to do well and to help get us into the playoffs.
“It’s a role that I’m getting more and more comfortable with. I’m still learning bits and pieces here and there and trying to improve but I feel good playing at the back. I think some of my qualities from playing in midfield have helped me and it’s a role that forces you to be more vocal and to continue to be a leader.”
After missing last week’s 2-0 win at the New York Red Bulls through suspension, Edu is looking forward to getting back into the team for the trip to DC United on Saturday night. He knows how important a game that is, saying: “It’s a big one for us but I’m pretty confident.”
The Union’s chances of making the playoffs may be unclear, but there is no hiding the fact that Edu is fully committed to his team and the league. His return to his homeland has made Major League Soccer a better place and his presence will continue to help the development of MLS.
Wilson Palacios has been released by Stoke City and his next move is yet to be confirmed. The 30 year old has been in the Premier League since 2007 but a move to MLS is a possibility. (REPORT)
Premier League Rumours
Manchester United flop, Angel Di Maria, could be moving on to Bayern Munich after just one season to. The German giants are expected to dip into the market for a winger with both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben heading into their last year of their contracts. (REPORT)
Arsenal are planning a raid for FC Barcelona duo Pedro Rodriguez and Martin Montoya. Both players are reportedly unhappy with a lack of playing time. (REPORT)
Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, 26, is set to leave the club this summer after returning from his loan spell with Real Madrid. His agent confirmed they have a whole host of tempting offers on the table, one of which includes a Major League Soccer club in the USA, likely to be Orlando City. (REPORT)
Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter has confirmed that his MLS club are interested in Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, 37, and Juventus midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, 36. Both have been linked with moves to MLS this week and the Timbers boss has done little to quell the rumours. (REPORT)
New York City FC are looking to bolster their defence with the addition of U.S. International defender Oguchi Onyewu, 33, on a free transfer. He’s just left Championship side Charlton Athletic after making just three league appearances, and is now looking for his fifth club in three years. (REPORT)
PREMIER LEAGUE RUMOURS
Tottenham are reportedly lining up a £12m offer for Burnley striker Danny Ings, 22. Ings is out of contract in June but Spurs are keen to seal the deal and beat their rivals to his signature. Liverpool have also been linked with a move for the Englishman in the past. (REPORT)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he likes Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, 28, after the Chilean was linked with a move to the Gunners this week. (REPORT)
Stoke City defender Robert Huth, 30, is looking to join Leicester City on a permanent basis in a deal worth £3m. The German defender joined on-loan in January and has made 14 appearances. (REPORT)
Newly promoted Bournemouth have confirmed the signing of Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, 30, on a free transfer. The Cherries signed him on a three-year deal after his contract expired at the end of the season. He joins fellow ‘keeper Artur Boruc, 35, to the club who signed a permanent deal following his loan move. (REPORT)
Stoke City have signed goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard, 23, from Danish club FC Midtjylland for an undisclosed fee. (REPORT)
Graham Dorrans, 28, has signed a two-year deal with Norwich City. He joined the Canaries on-loan in February 2015 and has now made the deal permanent. (REPORT)
The Reds will be disappointed not to have qualified for the Champions League again but Brendan Rodgers has to try and ensure his players end the season with a positive result, especially after they lost their final home game 3-1 to Crystal Palace last weekend.
The Raheem Sterling situation is not making things easy for the Liverpool manager and so he will be looking forward to watching his side play a game for the last time this season.
Though it won’t be an easy one for the Reds as Stoke have gone unbeaten through their last three at the Britannia.
Liverpool are without Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan, while Mamadou Sakho remains a doubt. Sterling should play but may sit out as controversy off the field continues to surround the youngster, who could have played his last game for the club. Steven Gerrard will start in his final game for the Reds.
Stoke’s last five: W/D/L/W/D
Liverpool’s last five: D/L/W/D/L
Key Stat: There have been 15 goals in the last three matches at the Britannia between these two in all competitions, an average of five goals per game.
Key Player: Charlie Adam – The Scottish midfielder scored in this game last season and has three goals in his last five.
Stoke 2-2 Liverpool – There should be goals here on the final day of the season but the points may be shared in a close game. Stoke are strong at home and should end the season with a positive result against a Liverpool side that will be hoping next season will be a lot better.