While many expected Inter Miami to use their third and final designated player slot on a striker, the club has decided to shore up their midfield.
2018 World Cup champion midfielder Blaise Matuidi has agreed to a three-year contract with Inter Miami CF, according to ESPN.
The veteran Frenchman is a major addition to David Beckham’s young club. He can control possession well in the midfield and has strong defensive attributes.
Matuidi has made 102 appearances for Juventus over the past three years, in which he has captured the Serie A title three times as well as one Supercoppa and Coppa Italia title. He also played a pivotal role in France’s 2018 World Cup championship run.
Before his run with Juve, the 33-year-old won five straight league titles with Paris-Saint Germain and was the country’s footballer of the year in 2015.
Matuidi is still under contract with Juventus for another year, but is not asking for a transfer fee and is open to a pay cut, according to Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri.
Not known for his goal-scoring, he’s scored 48 in 651 games throughout his club career and eight goals during his run with Juve. Nonetheless, Matuidi is still an important piece to the puzzle as Inter Miami continues to strengthen its squad in its inaugural season. His defensive work-rate will give Rodolfo Pizarro more freedom to go forward and create chances for others.
Having a player like Matuidi in the defensive midfield to clean up mistakes will give offensive players less responsibility on the defensive side and make a difference in more dangerous areas of the field. Also, he can beat defenders on the wing and whip in crosses that result in scoring chances.
Matuidi is the ideal player for manager Diego Alonso given his versatility, winning ways and ability to play a number of different positions. He’s been primarily used as a central or defensive midfielder but he can also play as a left-back or left midfielder if called upon.
ESPN Analyst and former United States striker Taylor Twellman backed up Inter Miami’s decision by essentially saying he understands Matuidi‘s role and agrees with the route the club took with its final designated player slot.
Matuidi will have to undergo his medical before officially signing but once he does it’ll be interesting to follow how he fits in the team’s system and transitions to the MLS.