For a team that really needs center backs, the New York Red Bulls seem awfully casual about letting the ones they have go walkabout.
Qatar✈️— Matt Miazga (@MattMiazga3) January 26, 2015
Matt Miazga, one of just two specialist central defenders on the team's official roster as of January 25 (the day before preseason kicks off, in case you were wondering why the sense of urgency about the continuing CB deficit), looks to be on the move.
Just a tweet. No biggie. Maybe he's playing a game involving emoticons and geography.
Except...there's that report from a Leipzig website suggesting Miazga is in Doha right now. We called that a rumor, and it seemed a bit of stretch - the man was playing soccer in Jamaica last night, and it takes a while to get from the Caribbean to Qatar, even if Papa Red Bull is breaking out the private jet.
But now we have a report, allegedly due to be published in German magazine Kicker tomorrow (January 26), and excerpted on Transfermarkt.com:
Bis dahin soll auch der Leipziger Kader komplett und die letzte noch vakante Stelle besetzt sein. Sportdirektor Ralf Rangnick hat sich auf seiner bemerkenswert langen Suche nach einem neuen Innenverteidiger für eine konzerninterne Lösung entschieden. US-Talent Matthew "Matt" Miazga (19) vom MLS-Club New York Red Bulls machte sich am Sonntag auf den Weg nach Katar, soll an diesem Montag in Doha eintreffen.
Parallel dazu hatte sich Rangnick in Katar mit den New Yorker Entscheidungsträgern, Sportdirektor Ali Curtis und Chefcoach Jesse Marsch, auf den Transfer des Abwehrspielers verständigt. Der wird allerdings nur auch tatsächlich realisiert, wenn Miazga die Vorschusslorbeeren in den nächsten Trainingstagen bestätigt. "Er kommt nur, wenn er uns auf Anhieb weiterhelfen kann", sagt Rangnick.
Yes, that's in German. [Because you, dear reader, may have a better grasp of the language of Goethe than us, and we would not deny you the chance to offer a better translation. Indeed, we kinda hope you will.]
Here's a translation from "Sifrit" on Big Soccer's boards:
Miazga is supposed to arrive in Doha on Monday. RB Leipzig's sporting director Rangnick and Red Bull New York's sporting director Curtis as well as head coach Marsch have agreed on a transfer. However, the transfer will only be realised if Miazga shows well in the next few days. They quote Rangnick: "He will only join us if he can immediately help the team."
To recap: Matt Miazga is reportedly on his way to Qatar (source: himself) for a trial with RB Leipzig which will result in his transfer to the German club if he proves himself capable of making an immediate contribution to the team (source: Kicker).
And RBNY will start its preseason on January 26, blizzard allowing (the team is supposed to travel to Florida; characteristic of its recent luck and judgment, its travel plans coincide with what may be one of the most severe snowstorms in the history of the tri-state area) , with just one specialist center back under contract and in camp.
EDIT: Good news!
Kristian Dyer is reporting Miazga's trip to the Middle East is ONLY A TRAINING STINT. No trial, certainly no transfer. He'll back with the team, guaranteed (says Dyer's source; Dyer is the most reliable reporter the RBNY beat has in its ranks, but that is not the same as speaking for the team).
This is encouraging. Though one would note that any training stint is almost always effectively a trial, whether it's called that or not, and whether the evaluation is for immediate or future transfer consideration.
Miazga has just finished an international tournament, in which he played five games between January 9 and 24. He is certainly match fit. One wonders why exactly he needs to be shuttled out to Qatar in something close to peak condition to participate in the tail-end of RB Leipzig's mid-season break (the team is expected to return to Germany on January 29).
Oh, and if Miazga is just flying out, he will arrive in Qatar on January 26, which is about eight hours ahead of EST, so - unless he's already there - he's either getting off the plane and stumbling to a training session, or he won't start working with the team until January 27.
Long way to go for a a couple of days of training with a team you're not going to play for while your club starts preseason under a new head coach.
It's a relief to be told Miazga will be back (though the source at RBNY may want to send RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick an apology for implying he's a liar), but perhaps Jesse Marsch or Ali Curtis would care to explain what value young Matt and his team will derive from this 48-hour training session in Qatar that is absolutely-not-at -all related to any future transfer?