The rumors connecting Christian Pulisic to Manchester United come at a crossroads for both player and club.
On Wednesday morning, The Athletic UK reported that the USMNT captain is among the names on Manchester United’s target list. With two weeks left in the summer transfer window, the report claims that Manchester United desires a loan move. However, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims that the impediment to this loan is Todd Boehly. While Christian Pulisic and United would be open to the move, the new Chelsea owner is hesitant to release players to important and rival clubs. Manchester United certainly fits that billing in relation to Chelsea.
Currently at Chelsea, the American international is devoid of playing time under Thomas Tuchel. The German manager prefers the Premier-League-proven Raheem Sterling or fellow Englishman Mason Mount.
In fact, those are the two players Pulisic replaced in the first two Premier League games of the 2022/23 season. Moreover, Pulisic only came on in the 85th minute, serving the role of outlet on the counter attack as Chelsea tried to hold firm at the back.
Therefore, the consensus most-important player for the USMNT lacks any chance to develop ahead of the World Cup. There, Pulisic takes on the role of leader. Yet, at the club level, he struggles just to make the pitch.
The spotlight is perhaps brighter at Old Trafford, but it could be the required move for both the player and the club.
Christian Pulisic’s role at Manchester United
For United, any incoming players serve as bandages for a wound stretching from goalkeeper to striker. The gaps on the United squad yielded nothing but disappointment early on. With Liverpool next on the fixture list, it makes a loss at home to Brighton and a thrashing at the hands of Brentford sting more. Like Arsenal from a season ago, Manchester United looks set to begin this season at the bottom of the table. Three losses in three games.
Looking specifically at the area of the field Christian Pulisic occupies, United’s attacking options are feeble. Moreover, the defenses United faced early on are not necessarily world-beaters. Rather, players like Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho lack confidence and a true finishing touch. Then, the possibility of losing Cristiano Ronaldo continues to near reality. Finally, players like Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho are talented and young. But, they are still unproven on a consistent basis at the top level.
Clearly, there is a clear goal-scoring gap for Manchester United. Christian Pulisic is a natural fit at that spot. The American has experience at Chelsea playing as a winger on both sides or just behind a central striker. Since coming to Chelsea, his tenure did not pan out quite as expected, but he has experience in major fixtures.
Pulisic and playing time
Those goals often came as a substitute. For example, he came off the bench to score the winner against West Ham United in the 90th minute a season ago.
Despite Thomas Tuchel preferring Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling or Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic actually improved his goal tally compared to his time as a young player in Germany. Even then, he played 117 games with the Blues, scoring 25 goals. Not a great tally, even if he has 19 assists to go along with it.
Last season, Pulisic played in 22 Premier League games. He only started 13 of these. Eventually, Pulisic fell out of favor at the turn into 2022 after a drought of seven appearances without a goal or assist.
This makes the potential loan to Manchester United that much more intriguing for Christian Pulisic. Given the fact that Manchester United has ample question marks in its attacking line, Christian Pulisic would be a nice fit that can score goals. However, Manchester United supporters need a savior, and they demand it now.
Increased pressure, but more development
As stated previously, the criticism of players is harsher at Manchester United. Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo had the notorious honor of being the most abused players on Twitter. Remarkably, that same report claimed that of the 60,000 ‘abusive’ posts, 12 focused on specific players. Eight of those are Manchester United players.
Consequently, Christian Pulisic would be under the gun to perform, and consistency is not something the player or Manchester United shine in.
Regardless, the opportunity presented by Manchester United comes at a perfect time for the player. With the World Cup coming just around the corner, match fitness and form play a massive role at the world’s biggest sporting event. This is a trend falling on the shoulders of a number of USMNT players, from goalkeepers to Christian Pulisic’s teammates at the top.
However, with Brenden Aaronson already performing well for Leeds United and Malik Tillman scoring for Rangers twice now, the onus falls on the national team’s captain.
If Pulisic truly wants to lead effectively, it starts on the pitch. Manchester United could be a strong suitor to get him up to speed, and he would be an improvement for the club’s current outlook.
PHOTO: John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images
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