By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer
Will Christian Pulisic stay or go?
With less than two weeks remaining in Europe’s summer transfer window — and less than three months until the 2022 World Cup kicks off — we still don’t know which club the U.S. men’s national team headliner will be employed by come Qatar.
Multiple reports on Monday suggested that Pulisic will stay with Chelsea through next Friday’s deadline. Others insisted that Manchester United and Newcastle are still trying to prize him away from the Blues.
Meanwhile, Pulisic’s father apparently has been fanning flames on the internet, and not for the first time.
It’s Silly Season at its finest, and Sept. 1 is still far enough away that more twists and turns are likely in store as coaches and executives trying to bolster their squads before the window slams shut begin to get desperate.
Christian Pulisic talks about the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Chelsea
USMNT soccer star Christian Pulisic sits down to talk with Doug McIntyre about his experience at Chelsea.
Pulisic’s situation as it stands
Chelsea have no obligation and are in no hurry to sell Pulisic, who is now in his fourth season in London and still has two years left on his contract.
After shipping out attackers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner earlier this summer (they’re also close to sending Hakim Ziyech back to Ajax) they could decide to keep him as cover. Any potential deal for Pulisic might then hinge on the Blues’ ability to successfully lure their own 11th hour targets, namely Ajax winger Antony and Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Pulisic, for his part, would reportedly prefer to stay at Stamford Bridge. But he has also grown increasingly frustrated with manager Thomas Tuchel, who has used the American exclusively off the bench through the first three games of the Premier League season. So, the 23-year-old seems open to leaving, at least on loan, to secure playing time ahead of the World Cup.
Are Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea forcing Christian Pulisic out of the club?
Alexi Lalas and David Mosse discuss whether Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea are forcing Christian Pulisic out of the club.
Manchester United out of the race?
A stint at Man United is thought to be appealing to Pulisic despite their uneven start to the 2022-23 season. It’s still one of the very biggest clubs in the world, and they badly need the help, with fellow wingers Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho both mired in a year-long slump (though both did score in Monday’s upset of Liverpool).
Still, Italian-based transfer whisperer Fabrizio Romano wrote on his Substack Monday that Chelsea don’t want to loan Pulisic to the Red Devils, who just dropped $70 million on Real Madrid midfielder Carlos Casemiro. Pulisic would be less expensive, but certainly not cheap, on a permanent switch.
“I wouldn’t bet on him ending up at Old Trafford,” Romano said of Pulisic, adding that he still expects the USMNT’s star’s future to be “resolved soon.”
Will the Glazers, Manchester United solve their transfer deadline mess?
Manchester United seem far from Premier League contention.
Spanish side Atletico Madrid and Italian pair Juventus and AC Milan were also rumored destinations for Pulisic earlier in the window, but that was according to the notoriously unreliable British tabloids. Unsurprisingly, those whispers have quieted in recent days.
That leaves Newcastle. Credible outlets have the Magpies still in the running; Chelsea may even be willing to loan Pulisic to Tyneside, if not to Manchester. If they insist on a permanent deal, it’s not like the Saudi backed-club couldn’t afford it. The only question then would be if Pulisic wants to go.
Staying at Chelsea could make sense
After winning the UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup during his time with the Blues, it’s easy to understand why Pulisic might see Newcastle as a step-down compared to those other brand-name suitors. If he does, he could choose to stay put, train hard and fight for more minutes under Tuchel instead.
Lineup changes have to be coming after Sunday’s 3-0 drubbing in Leeds. None of the three goals Chelsea have scored through their first three games have been by an attacker.
Surely more opportunities for minutes will come when the Champions League — a competition Newcastle hasn’t qualified for in decades — begins next month. Antony is a blue-chip prospect, but he’d need time to adjust to the Prem. Pulisic knows Aubameyang well from their days together at German side Borussia Dortmund; perhaps they could rekindle that previously productive partnership. Circumstances can change quickly. A little patience could go a long way.
Newcastle’s interest is intriguing
A historic underachiever, Newcastle is now clearly a team on the come-up. They have a well-regarded young coach in Eddie Howe and a huge following in Northeast England, with their fans seen as among the most loyal and passionate in the global game.
And despite their deep pockets, the new ownership group has spent wisely and methodically since assuming control last year. The results are beginning to follow. On Sunday, Newcastle were up two goals on mighty Manchester City, winners of four of the last five Premier League titles, in the second half before settling for a 3-3 draw.
Would Christian Pulisic be a better fit at Newcastle?
Christian Pulisic was lightly featured with Chelsea over the weekend.
Adding a player of Pulisic’s caliber would be seen as a statement of intent that the club wants to compete at the top of the English game sooner than later. Playing time would be plentiful at Newcastle, as he’d likely be relied on in every match. It would be a fascinating move for both sides.
It might also be Pulisic’s only option if he wants to leave Chelsea this summer.
One of the leading soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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