Christian Pulisic Set for Major Competition in Chelsea Attack

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Christian Pulisic was the last major transfer window addition that Chelsea FC have made and integrated into their side. Stamford Bridge didn’t do anything of note in the January window, and they were banned from signing anybody last summer.

So it’s easy to understand why they’re set to make so much noise in this summer transfer window. What’s a bit surprising about it all is that the focus has been mostly on the final third, and that could create a major problem for Pulisic. Let’s take a closer look at the developing situation around the Hershey, Pennsylvania native.

It’s about who will be coming and going in the final third and/or attacking midfield. Chelsea got the transfer window started, among anybody in the Premier League, by signing Ajax attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech a few months ago, with the understanding that he’ll join the team in the summer.

They are also in process of landing RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, a star-in-the-making who can also play out wide. On the flip side, single named wingers Willian and Pedro are almost certainly on the outs this summer. 

However, the southwestern London club also have their eyes on Kai Havertz, a Bayer Leverkusen scoring sensation that is wanted by a lot of the biggest clubs. Chelsea are said to be leading the way in the race to sign him. 

So where does Pulisic fit in? The 21-year-old said a few weeks ago, in a somewhat playful manner, he was unnoticed when he first joined the team last summer. It appears right now that he still needs to make his presence felt, once again.

Pulisic was slow to be integrated into the team at first, but made the most of opportunities when they were there. Leadership figures in US Soccer have recently praised the approach and method. Then he broke into the first team, found his groove, and showed manager Frank Lampard what he can really do. And then, injury struck, and he’s been out of commission since New Year’s Day.

It was a nasty adductor injury, Pulisic admits, one that perhaps he didn’t take seriously enough at first. He made progress against it, but then relapsed. Right now he’s fully fit and raring to go, and everyone gets a fresh restart, so what happpens from here?

NBC Sports did a great write-up on this topic, and it includes a depth chart at the positions germane to this conversation.

Joe Prince-Wright points out that “Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley are also around to compete with Pulisic.”

ESPN FC also has an excellent article on this topic, with James Olley writing: “There is no guarantee Chelsea will be able to sign another attacking target, but the mere fact they are pursuing several targets highlights Frank Lampard’s dissatisfaction with his current options — a situation that could make Pulisic feel like the forgotten man all over again.”

Remember that Pulisic, the most expensive American footballer in history, was brought in by Lampard’s predecessor, Maurizio Sarri, not the current boss.

However, the good news for Pulisic is that he’s already shown the ability to come in behind the eight ball and have to prove himself. He can do it again.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.com, on Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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