American defender Matt Miazga has officially signed for Chelsea, the club announced on Saturday.
Miazga, 20, leaves the New York Red Bulls for the Premier League after establishing himself in one of Major League Soccer’s top clubs. He made his debut for the United States senior men’s national team in November.
Chelsea and Miazga agreed to a four-and-a-half year contract.
“I am very happy to sign for Chelsea, a world-famous club with a reputation for major success,” Miazga said in a statement. “I am delighted to be in the Premier League, the best league in the world, and can’t wait to meet my team-mates and get going. I am still at the beginning of my career but I believe this is the place to develop and learn from some of the best players in the world.”
Miazga is a product of the Red Bulls Academy, which he joined in 2009. He signed his first contract at age 17, four years later, and debuted for the club at 18.
SI’s Grant Wahl spoke with Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis and reports that Miazga was unwilling to sign a new deal with the team at the end of 2016, and that the club felt the need to receive some type of compensation to reinvest in their development systems. Given Miazga’s role with the national team, he would have missed signficant chunks of the MLS season.
The Red Bulls made an offer that would have made Miazga the first homegrown player in league history to become a designated player, a deal that would have promised multiple millions to the player had he opted not to leave for Europe.
The Red Bulls published an open letter from Miazga to fans on their website on Saturday.
“I am forever grateful for my time at Red Bull for providing me with the opportunity to grow and develop into the player I am today,” he wrote. “My experiences there have helped me fulfill my lifelong goal along with the support of my family, friends, and God.”