Chelsea transfer news: Pulisic no longer holds all the shots ahead of potential transfer move after failed summer deal.
Christian Pulisic may not get a better option to stake his claim for a spot in Graham Potter’s Chelsea team. As the Blues travel to Austria to face RB Salzburg in the Champions League, Pulisic could be set for a second start under the new manager.
Having been effectively outcasted by Thomas Tuchel in the final weeks of his reign, a sign of the failing relationship between the pair that had been getting worse almost since the German first walked through the door. Pulisic hasn’t been afforded the chance to shine yet under Potter.
The American started against Wolves in a rotated side that won 3-0 before a trip to San Siro. He scored in that game but also showed the inconsistency that has plagued his Chelsea career. Pulisic had largely been seen as a player waiting to get out of the club all summer, and that continued into this campaign too.
Potter has given everyone a clean slate, but the feeling has been that the 24-year-old would still be pushing for a move come January, regardless. Things looked to be getting that way before a brief but exciting cameo against Brentford. Pulisic came off the bench in a triple change made by Graham Potter and had one of his best showings.
Although he was unable to provide a goal, assist, or a meaningful moment that moved the score past 0-0, it was the manor his play that almost startled fans. He took the ball with purpose, and his dribbling was coordinated and skilful, exactly what Pulisic was tipped for as a teenager. He was unfortunate not to start against Manchester United amid Raheem Sterling’s recent drop-off, but Salzburg might provide another big chance.
With matches coming up against Brighton, Arsenal, Newcastle and Manchester City, all before the World Cup, at which he is expected to be USA’s star, there is a chance to pick up form and prove people wrong as well as make a statement to Potter.
Pulisic may also not have as many transfer options as first thought. Over the summer, he was linked with a move to Manchester United – they have since signed Antony – Juventus and AC Milan. Newcastle also wanted the American but felt he was too expensive.
The latest reports in Italy suggest that going there is no longer plausible. CalcioMercato writes that Juventus are now happy to wait for the return of Federico Chiesa after a long injury lay-off, plus the addition of young wingers. AC Milan, on the other hand, remains hopeful of renewing Rafael Leao’s contract before it is too late.
The Portuguese star has been a target for Todd Boehly and is seen as a possibility next year as he enters the final 18 months of his contract. If nothing is agreed before the summer, then the Blues could heavily pursue Leao, who may feel they hold the shots given his £127m release clause.
Chelsea had already tried a swap deal, including Hakim Ziyech, and Pulisic’s name was also in the conversation, but for now, there is no immediate interest. This hampers Pulisic’s plans, but it also streamlines his options. With no transfer on the horizon, a World Cup to play and a small glimmer of a chance to revive his Chelsea career, the only remaining path is to play and prove himself once more.