In my last article I dabbled on how Chelsea can resolve current and future squad issues using their loan system if the transfer ban holds. Currently on loan and technically a Chelsea player is Christian Pulisic. Pulisic is and will be under close watch of Chelsea fans abroad as the future of Eden Hazard at the time of this article is uncertain and young stud Callum Hudson-Odoi figures to be out until the winter transfer window rehabbing an achilles rupture, an injury of tricky and severe nature. In the scenario that Hazard leaves and/or Odoi is unfit, fans should know exactly what they’re getting in Captain America, and whether or not he can fill Hazard’s boots or send Willian or Pedro packing.
Entering the season, Pulisic opened as Borussia Dortmund’s numero uno on the right flank. However, as the season went on he took many knocks and was forced out of game action on a few occasions. This allowed Jadon Sancho to build on his super-sub status at the time, and he took his opportunity by the scruff of the neck, subsequently bumping Pulisic to the bench even when fit. This may not particularly be a bad thing, because there are a lot of factors that come into questioning Pulisic in this scenario. Can he stay fir? Is he even that good? How could he lose his starting position to a teenager?
Pulisic is not injury-prone; in the two seasons prior to this one, he has played 30+ games in each as a teenager. This proves that not only he had the quality to play as a teenager, but he was also physically fit to play most of the Bundesliga games, DFB Pokal games, AND Champions League games. Per Transfermarkt, Pulisic has scored 32 times and assisted 38 times in 150 career professional club games. In total, his contributions round out to nearly one goal contribution every other game. This record is not terrible, or fantastic. In comparison to Willian, for example, Pulisic isn’t exactly that much better. According to Understat.com, Willian and Pulisic post nearly identical numbers in terms of possession and attack contribution, but Willian has a massive edge in key passes per 90 minutes and about 0.5 more shots per 90 minutes. And, although Pulisic has played less than half of the minutes Willian, there are many reasons to believe he will improve and in my opinion become a far better player than Willian.
While it may not be immediate, Captain America’s impact on Chelsea is looming. While a
decade younger than Willian (and Pedro), Pulisic’s potential is massive. Despite being usurped by Jadon Sancho at Dortmund, who is well on his way to becoming a true world class player, Pulisic isn’t far behind. He’s not exactly a goal scorer like Hazard, but he’s always good for a nice dribble and a goal or an assist to follow. If Chelsea can find a true 9 or get the ones they have going, Pulisic will have no trouble getting acclimated and justifying his price tag with the pieces around him.