Matt Miazga's development as a professional soccer player continues to follow an increasingly steep and startling upward trajectory. We knew he was good: he is not yet 20 and he has played for the national youth teams of two countries (USA and Poland); former New York Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh described battling Bundesliga clubs for the privilege of signing Miazga to his first pro contract; he has been a regular starter for the USA U-20 men's national team for U-20 World Cup qualifying, preparations and competition; he has logged more minutes (881), starts (10) and appearances (12) in MLS this season than in his previous two seasons combined.
Miazga is coming of age before our eyes. His latest outing - against NYCFC on June 28 - was perhaps the most assured we've seen from him for RBNY. He spent most of the game essentially man-marking David Villa, handling the assignment very well. Villa saw plenty of the ball and fashioned six shots, but only one was on target and it didn't find the net.
Meanwhile, Miazga also found time to get up the field and score his first goal in MLS...
...giving rise to his first goal celebration.
So the young defender is making a lot of noise at the moment. Surprisingly, the rumor mill is not.
It has long been clear that Miazga is being closely monitored by Papa Red Bull. He had a trial with RB Leipzig shortly before signing his first contract with RBNY in early 2013. In January of this year, he was whisked off to Qatar to participate in joint training camp being held by Salzburg and Leipzig. Papa has an eye on Miazga.
But what about other clubs? We are approaching the rumor mill's summer peak. Here is a rapidly emerging player with U-20 World Cup experience, who seems to be getting better with every game. He was allegedly in the frame for a Polish national team call-up earlier this year (likely just to test his growing allegiance to the USA, but still - that's a big deal for a 19-year-old who, at the time, had scarcely logged 1,000 competitive minutes as a professional). No one but Red Bull is looking at this kid?
Of course he's getting looks from other clubs. But the rumor mill has paid scant attention to him up to this point. That may be about to change. Until recently, the only outlet regularly transmitting any whispers connecting Miazga to teams outside the Red Bull system was Twitter handle @MLSTransfers, which claimed German clubs Bochum and Stuttgart had scouts watching the player in New Zealand.
Source: Bochum and Stuttgart scouting Miazga at U-20 World Cup.— MLS Transfers (@MLSTransfers) May 30, 2015
No one touched that rumor. But before the game against NYCFC, @MLSTransfers suggested there was renewed activity on the Miazga front:
Confirmed: RB Leipzig and Stuttgart coaches will be in attendance today. Supposedly both viewing Matt Miazga.— MLS Transfers (@MLSTransfers) June 28, 2015
We can assume Leipzig is pretty much always keeping an eye on the player. The Stuttgart whisper is interesting because it implies the club might have liked what it saw in New Zealand and come back for another look. And there is one more team @MLSTransfers believes to be contemplating hopping aboard the Miazga hype train:
We haven't heard a lot about interest in Miazga from outside the Red Bull circle of synergy, but that may be about to change. There is an EPL club in the mix now, and that brings with it English (and Welsh) newspapers. Brace yourself, RBNY fans: the Miazga rumor mill could be about to get busy.