Ian Maatsen is Borussia Dortmund’s latest signing, joining on loan until the end of the season from English Premier League side Chelsea. But who exactly is the versatile Netherlands youth international? bundesliga.com tells you everything you need to know.
Data correct as of 12 January 2024
Age: 21 (born 10 March 2002)
Club: Borussia Dortmund (on loan from Chelsea)
Position: Left-back/left winger
Country: Netherlands (46 youth caps)
Maatsen has been on the books of some of Europe’s biggest clubs for the majority of his career, first joining Feyenoord at the age of just seven. However, he was released four years later by the 16-time Eredivisie champions, in part due to his short stature. Following a subsequent 24-month stint with Sparta Rotterdam, Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven came calling. After impressing while playing for the club’s youth teams, the left-footed ace attracted the attention of Chelsea, making the switch to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018.
The Dutchman initially featured for the Blues’ academy, helping the U19s reach the 2018/19 UEFA Youth League final where they eventually lost 3-1 to Porto. He also provided four assists in just 10 U18 Premier League outings that campaign as Chelsea finished third in the table. The following term, he caught the eye of then manager Frank Lampard, finally making his professional debut on 25 September 2019 against Grimsby Town in the EFL Cup, replacing Marcos Alonso for the final 20 minutes of a 7-1 victory.
With regular first-team appearances hard to come by at Chelsea, Maatsen had to depart on loan to start making waves in the sport. Promising spells at Charlton Athletic in League One and Coventry City in the Championship ensued in 2020/21 and 2021/22 respectively, but it was at Burnley in 2022/23 where he really burst onto the scene. As the Clarets secured promotion to the top flight under Vincent Kompany, Maatsen was a crucial component, registering four goals and six assists in 39 league matches and earning himself a spot in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.
This season was his first as a permanent member of Chelsea’s senior squad, but he has had to make do with a bit-part role, managing just two starts in all competitions and often being played as a winger rather than in his favoured left-back position. At international level, he is yet to pick up his first senior cap, but was included in Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman's squads for last year’s 2024 European Championships qualifying clashes with Greece and the Republic of Ireland. He does have silverware at international level, though, playing five of the Dutch’s six games as they won the U17 European Championships in 2019, even finding the back of the net in the 4-2 final triumph over Italy.
Plays a bit like: Alphonso Davies
Dortmund’s newest ace is at his best attacking from deep and causing problems with his pace and dribbling down the flank as either a left-back or left wing-back – a bit like Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, who has progressed into one of the leading players in his position across the globe.
Also reminiscent of Davies is Maatsen's ability to play further up the field. While the Canada international has rarely played as a winger for Bayern, he featured there heavily for previous employers Vancouver Whitecaps. If Maatsen can be anywhere near as influential for BVB as his Bayern counterpart, Edin Terzić will have a real player on his hands.
Did you know?
Standing at 167cm (5’6”), Maatsen was the smallest player in the Premier League prior to his exit, and he immediately slots into the number one spot in the Bundesliga, replacing Werder Bremen's Romano Schmid (168cm) at the top of the list. The 21-year-old will be hoping it isn’t only his height that breaks records over the next few months.
What they are saying
"He's a player with a lot of pace, has a strong left foot and can also play in various positions. We're very pleased we could complete this loan before our first Bundesliga game of the year." - Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl
“I'm so pleased with him because of his attitude, commitment and his understanding of the game." - Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino during pre-season
"Ian is doing exactly what he needs to be doing. With his stature he's not making the game about what the other players want, it's about what he has in terms of his skill and tools. He's just turning into something that we expected him to be able to become. He's a very, very versatile full-back with lots of energy and great potential." - Burnley manager Vincent Kompany during the 2022/23 campaign
“It says a lot about how good he is that even a slightly off day stands out as exceptional. It is not normal. The kid is bright, he’s hugely talented, he wants to learn, and he never gives up.” - Goalkeeper Simon Moore, Maatsen’s teammate during his Coventry City loan, in 2021.
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