Why Christian Pulisic departing Chelsea on loan would be a real shame
Having started only five games for the Blues in all competitions this term, the 21-year-old United States international is not at all happy with this playtime and he might be forced to ask for a temporary stint elsewhere if things do not improve before the mid-season trading period.
Pulisic was regarded as one of the most sought-after young talents in Europe when Chelsea splashed out £58 million to secure his services in January.
The talented attacker was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign and he only linked up with his new teammates in West London earlier in the summer during the pre-season period.
The 21-year-old earned the trust of new Chelsea boss Frank Lampard after featuring regularly and impressing in the pre-season friendlies, with the manager handing him starts against Leicester City, Norwich City and Sheffield United in the Premier League in August, as well as in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool.
Despite having proven his worth with some moments of sheer brilliance in the first month of the ongoing campaign, Pulisic has slipped way down the pecking order ever since, with Lampard overlooking the United States prodigy for three consecutive Premier League fixtures against Wolves, Liverpool and Brighton, as well as for the UEFA Champions League ties against Valencia and Lille.
Well, that constant snub from the playing eleven hasn’t gone down well with Pulisic and, while he has admitted that he is ready to fight tooth and nail in order to regain his manager’s confidence, the 21-year-old is keen to keep his options open if he doesn’t manage to nail down a regular starting role in the coming months. (h/t Sun)
Lampard has shown more faith in veterans Willian and Pedro for a role out wide on either flank while Mason Mount has often been given the nod ahead of Pulisic when it comes to starting on the left-hand side of the forward line.
Now, with Callum Hudson-Odoi also back in the reckoning from his spell on the sidelines, Pulisic finds his pathway to the playing eleven blocked by as many as four players, all of whom are apparently above him in the pecking order under Lampard.
As per the report, Lampard has pointed out that Pulisic needs more time to adapt to the demands of playing regularly in the Premier League, with the gaffer making it clear that the 21-year-old would need to prove his worth on the training ground if he is really serious about becoming one of the first names on his team sheet.
To put things into perspective, it doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to figure out that Pulisic is frustrated with his lack of involvement at Stamford Bridge and he will be well within his rights to demand a loan move elsewhere if he is not a key part of Lampard’s plans moving forward.
Such a situation, however, would be a real shame for Chelsea and a blemish that the Blues can simply ill-afford during the mid-season trading period.
With several academy prospects like Tammy Abraham, Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Hudson-Odoi and Recce James reaping the rewards of Lampard’s youth project and the transfer embargo still very much in place until the end of the season, losing a top young prospect like Pulisic on loan in January would be a massive step backwards for a number of reasons.
Pulisic’s quality on the ball and his vision to set up goals have been quite apparent whenever he has been on the pitch and it is hard to understand why Lampard is still reluctant to give him regular opportunities, particularly with Willian and Pedro not doing enough on a consistent basis to justify their selection.
And far as Mount is concerned, versatility to play in multiple roles in the midfield is one of his key assets and his inclusion in the eleven hardly has anything to do with Pulisic’s omission, simply because both offer something different in terms of overall gameplay.
Chelsea looked to have pulled off a massive deal when they snapped up Pulisic for a staggering fee back in January, however, one cannot help but wonder as to what might have changed so drastically over the last few months that he is no longer being considered for a first-team role at the club.
Of course, Maurizio Sarri has made way for Lampard but that shouldn’t have anything to do with Pulisic’s constant omission from the playing eleven, given that his talent and potential remains the same. Suffice to say, he deserves to be rated mote highly at Stamford Bridge.
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However, if Lampard feels that he is not doing enough on the training ground to earn a place in the eleven, then he might as well find a way to extract the best out of him, which is definitely a part of his job as the manager of the club.
All in all, this is a situation that Lampard needs to address at the earliest to prevent it from escalating into a distracting issue that could potentially have a negative impact on the entire squad.