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January 22, 2023

Christian Pulisic scored six league goals for Chelsea last season, despite not getting consistent minutes for much of the season. This means he has scored the third most goals in the league for the FIFA Club World Cup champions. Many remember Pulisic missing a clean chance in the Carabao Cup final, a chance that might have seen the Blues win the competition had he found the back of the net. More recently, many remember his failure when he sent a wide cutback in front of an empty net. This angered many and they used him as a scapegoat for Chelsea’s attacking woes.

Since the end of the season, many fans have spent time making line-ups and participating in a handful of discussions about which players the Blues should keep and which players they should sell once the transfer window opens. Certain names have consistently floated around in “selling” conversations, Pulisic being one of them. At least, that was the case initially. Reasons such as physical fitness and a disappointing performance were cited for wanting to sell him, but now the mindset of fans has changed following recent reports.

Chelsea fans can’t have it both ways this summer with Christian Pulisic

The mood-changing event was the widespread report that Liverpool are now interested in the American. The Reds have agreed to sell Sadio Mane which means they will have to replace the Senegalese winger as soon as possible. Liverpool’s interest seems to have made many of the aforementioned Chelsea fans unwilling to sell him again. Apparently, the idea that one of the best teams in the country doesn’t see Pulisic as a disappointment is baffling. The Blues’ attack have been blamed for their troubles this season and therefore one of the most successful teams in the country valuing a member of said attack doesn’t seem to make sense.

Of course, that wouldn’t make sense if you didn’t pay attention to it. Only two players received up to 10 clear chances last season for Chelsea in the Premier League. Pulisic had the better conversion rate of the two and, in fact, recorded as good a conversion rate as a top striker (45%). The American scored the most goals per shots taken. He took 28 shots and scored 21% in the English top flight. Pulisic also took some of the best shots, with an average distance per shot of 12.9 yards and an average of the highest expected non-penalty goal(s) per shot (npxG/Sh) of 0.18. Only Kai Havertz shot closer on average (12.2). At Liverpool, Mane ranks second among strikers in goals to shots taken and also ranks second in average distance per shot (13.3). The mane averages 0.17 npxG/Sh.

Evidence shows that Pulisic has been quite effective as a striker this season. Efficiency is also a theme for Liverpool forwards, so it’s no surprise the Champions League runners-up are interested in him. However, there are Chelsea fans who believe that, like every other striker, he has been useless and inconsistent. There is nothing wrong with feeling that for his players. The problem now is that those same fans don’t want him sold to Liverpool. If you were to ask these supporters what their favorite line-up is, they wouldn’t include Pulisic. In fact, some of them wouldn’t include Pulisic in their 20-man squad for the majority of games. If you don’t want him to start regularly for the club, why do you still want to keep him?

The first reason is arrogance. Many Blues fans overestimate the prestige and influence of their club and therefore believe that having a contract with the club should be enough to satisfy a player. You may have heard some Chelsea supporters say ‘if he doesn’t want to be here, I don’t want him here’, ‘I only want players who are passionate about this club’ or other nonsensical statements. None of this is realistic, or even possible, in reality. Clubs often have to convince the best players to play for their clubs. Real Madrid, the biggest club in world football, had to convince Cristiano Ronaldo to play for them, let’s not forget that. This arrogance makes fans think that players like Pulisic would be happy to be a fringe player for them, although there is no suggestion that would be the case, especially if a team like Liverpool are interested in acquiring the American.

The second part is selfishness. Many of these fans know that if Pulisic stays, he will get marginal minutes and his development would be further hampered. But they don’t care. They are not interested in the player. However, if they have the slightest idea that he could be useful to a rival, they prefer to keep him and let him rot on the bench rather than let him go and ply his trade elsewhere. You can’t have it both ways though. Your perception of his abilities and prowess should not be determined by a rival club. Either you consider him important for the club and you want to keep him, or you consider him not good enough and you want him to be sold.

What do you think the club should do with Pulisic? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

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