Life comes at you fast. Life in football comes at you ever faster.
On September 7th, Matt Miazga gushed about life and football in Nantes. He was happy, he was playing, he was rising to the challenge. He was a poster boy for the loan system.
On October 7th, Matt Miazga made his eighth consecutive start for struggling FC Nantes, completing the full 90, just as he had ever since the second match of the season (he was on the bench for Nantes’ opening day loss to AS Monaco). It was not a good game for Nantes, again, despite a new head coach, Vahid Halilhodžić standing watch, but it was an even worse game for Miazga personally.
Booked for the fifth straight game, he also gave away a penalty and was played off the park by Girondins Bordeaux striker François Kamano, in a performance labeled “nightmarish” by most local and French national media. It would appear that will also be the last he’s ever going to play for Les Canaris.
Certain Nantes representatives would prefer to end the loan of Chelsea defender Matt Miazga early, this January, so poor have his performances been, according to the well-connected @MohamedTERParis.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) October 29, 2018
The October international break followed that 3-0 loss, during which Miazga joined up with the US Men’s team, playing against Colombia in a 4-2 loss — his seventh start in the USMNT’s last nine matches — before sitting through a 1-1 draw with Peru as an unused substitute. Since then however, he’s missed three straight Ligue 1 matches without even being named in the matchday squad and the same was true for their league cup match against Montpellier.
In fairness, Nantes have won all four of those matches, scoring 14 goals and conceding just 1, so Halilhodžić has little reason to switch things up, and little reason to give Miazga a second chance at a first impression. Coaching changes often can often have such drastic effects on playing time (see: Victor Moses), but Miazga is now reportedly training with the reserves only, and that will surely indicate that a January recall is coming.
Maddox (2), Hazard, James and Scott all score, Mount and Tomori play against Chelsea, Abraham assists, Baxter saves a penalty, Miazga banished by Nantes. It's been a busy week for the Loan Report to cover. #CFC #LoanArmy https://t.co/TF3kGlSttI— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) November 4, 2018
Chelsea will now be scrambling to find a new home for Miazga, who seemed to be on an upward trajectory after two seasons at Vitesse Arnhem in which he established himself as an everyday starter at center back.
It’s hard to know what lies ahead for the 23-year-old. He is still very young, especially for a center back. He has size and decent pace. He’s useful on set pieces, with three headed goals last season. But he’s raw and, as you’d expect from a younger player, occasionally error-prone.
Let’s hope that the Chelsea loan army braintrust can find a solid new club for him, or this will become a lost season.