Christian Pulisic: What is the Chelsea and USMNT’s best option ahead of World Cup?


With the 2022 World Cup fast approaching most players are paying even more attention to the amount of game time they will be getting from their respective teams and Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic is no different. 

Pulisic is undoubtedly the United States star player and is guaranteed to be on the roster for Qatar as long as he is not injured.

Though he’s not fighting for his place, he still faces the challenge of ensuring he is in the best shape possible, which can only happen if he is regularly playing competitively. 

The 23-year-old has fallen out of favor at Chelsea with manager Thomas Tuchel reportedly struggling to trust the attacker.  

He has been linked with a transfer away from Stamford Bridge this summer and Manchester United have emerged as the latest contenders as a possible destination before the window closes.  

Newcastle, Juventus and Atletico Madrid have also expressed interest in acquiring Pulisic. Here, Sportsmail examines the options on the table for the USA captain… 

Christian Pulisic will be at World Cup for USA as long as he is healthy but he needs game time

Though he's not fighting for his place, he still faces challenge of ensuring he is in good form

Though he’s not fighting for his place, he still faces challenge of ensuring he is in good form

Chelsea 

Though staying at Chelsea might appear to be the easiest option on the surface for Pulisic, it no longer seems the most beneficial for the American star. 

In what has seemed to be the trend among Chelsea attackers Pulisic has reportedly grown frustrated with not only his minutes but also the system in place.

Last season’s mega-money signing Romelu Lukaku has already left after quickly becoming unhappy playing for Tuchel and wingers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech have been left out of the squad as both push for exits from the club, but that has not yet seemed to help.

The 23-year-old attacker has fallen out of favor under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel (left)

The 23-year-old attacker has fallen out of favor under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel (left) 

Through two games this season Tuchel’s selection has shown that there may be some truth to that previously mentioned lack of faith in Pulisic. He has been subbed on against both Everton and Spurs, receiving only a total of 31 minutes across the two contests.

This has come despite the trio of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and newly acquired Raheem Sterling producing no goals or assists while on the field together.

Furthermore Pulisic and some of the Blues other attackers have become displeased with the lack of freedom Tuchel’s system allows them going forward in order to maintain defensive positioning, as reported by The Evening Standard.

Chelsea have also seen a $54million bid for winger Anthony Gordon rejected.

Pulisic has struggled for regular minutes and has to put up with a peripheral role in London

Pulisic has struggled for regular minutes and has to put up with a peripheral role in London 

While away on international duty with the USA earlier this summer, he was able to address his future when speaking to reporters, and admitted that he wants ‘to get more playing time’.

‘I want to be on the field as much as I can and be the sharpest I can be and fit as well,’ he said.

While last term his father Mark took aim at his son’s lack of game time and described his situation as ‘sad’. 

He very much appears on the fringes of the Chelsea first team and could do with a fresh start.

Manchester United

Of all the reported options it appears that a loan move to Manchester United is the most realistic.

United have looked an absolute dumpster fire in the first two games of the season so the caliber of a player like Pulisic, prepared to actually show a pulse when he steps on the field, would be a welcome addition at this point.

Furthermore failures to secure the signings of other targets this summer most notably Barcelona midfielder Frankie De Jong and more recently Juventus midfielder Adrian Rabiot, would likely lead United to roll out the red carpet for any signing the Red Devils are actually able to secure.

Pulisic could well be a welcome addition for Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Pulisic could well be a welcome addition for Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Most importantly United’s lack of depth would also allow Pulisic an easy path to playing time. Neither Marcus Rashford nor Jadon Sancho have been able to turn potential into production on a consistent basis, and both Rashford as well as Cristiano Ronaldo have been subject to exit rumors.

An overall lack of depth within United’s attack could give Pulisic the ideal opportunity to find form at just the right time and he will still be have the chance to play in Europe.

Chelsea may however be unwilling to loan a player to a high-profile domestic rival like United. 

Sportsmail revealed that Blues owner Todd Boehly is open to the move, but only if he agrees to extend his Chelsea contract first.

Juventus

Juventus has also been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Pulisic if he is indeed to leave Chelsea before the World Cup. 

Juventus’s interest was first mentioned back when the American was a potential swap target during the Blues failed attempt to sign center-back Matthijs de Ligt.

Some tabbed Pulisic as a potential replacement for forward Paulo Dybala but the rumors appeared to quiet down after Angel Di Maria made his move to Turin. However the winger has already suffered an injury that may reopen the door for Pulisic to make a move.

Pulisic is known to be great friends with fellow US international Weston McKennie, and the pair have reportedly already discussed a potential move. 

Along with helping Pulisic transition to life with his new team McKennie could also help get Pulisic on the good side of manager Massimiliano Allegri.

McKennie is one of the players most-highly valued by Allegri.

Pulisic would have much more help in the lineup around him compared to United, but much like at Chelsea would still however face a large amount of competition from talented players like Federico Chiesa, Moise Kean, and Dusan Vlahovic, not to mention Di Maria when he returns from injury.

61491113 11121711 image m 8 1660790105326

Juventus players celebrate after Angel Di Maria scores a goal against Sassuolo on Monday

Newcastle

Newcastle may have the least appeal of any club on this list but they likely present the best chance for Pulisic to be used as a star player and the central figure in a team’s attacking unit. 

With the backing of a new ownership group Newcastle and coach Eddie Howe have been attempting to build a squad that can push well into the top 10 this season and  a player with Pulisic strengths would likely flourish in Howe’s system.

Howe’s style prefers fast wingers that can play in space on the counter attack, all things that Pulisic not only excels at but also is rarely allowed to do under the current system at Chelsea.

Featuring in an attack that currently consists of options such as Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron, Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie would immediately make the American the most dangerous man on the pitch for the Magpies.

Furthermore Chelsea may be more open to this move due to the new boardrooms at both clubs already appearing to have a good relationship with each other. 

Newcastle director Amanda Staveley was seen sitting with Chelsea’s co-owner Behdad Eghbali during the Blues 2-2 draw with Tottenham last weekend.

Newcastle director Amanda Staveley converses with Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali during Chelsea vs. Spurs game

Newcastle director Amanda Staveley converses with Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali during Chelsea vs. Spurs game

Atletico Madrid and others

Atletico Madrid have also been heavily linked to Pulisic among the recent exit rumors but depending how other transfers play out may present the most competition of all the clubs pursing his signature.

Atletico is dealing with the departure rumors of both Alvaro Morata and more importantly star man Joax Felix. 

The Spanish side have been mooted as a possible destination for Cristiano Ronaldo if he does indeed leave United.

Even outside of those three names Atletico possess the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, Thomas Lemar, and Yannick Carrasco in their attacking ranks so Pulisic may face similar issues.

Inter and AC Milan have also registered interest in Pulisic at points this offseason but it has faded as the summer has gone on. 



Source link