Star in the making or injury-prone liability? Pulisic faces defining summer at Chelsea

By FPL360


Jury still out on US winger 

There’s no doubt that Chelsea will have to make some major changes to their squad this summer if they are to bounce back from a disappointing season and challenge for the next Premier League title race. And that could mean some difficult decisions for Thomas Tuchel and his backroom staff. 

Central defender Antonio Rüdiger has already announced that he will be leaving the club and midfielder Jorginho has also been rumoured with a departure for some time now. Add to that a potential need to move on underperforming striker Romelu Lukaku if the club can find a buyer and it seems certain that the Stamford Bridge side will be making wholesale changes over the next few months. 

However, one player that has been in and out of the rumour mill and Chelsea starting XI with almost identical regularity is Christian Pulisic. Once signed as an exciting, young addition from Borussia Dortmund, the US national team star is about to conclude his third season at Chelsea, but remains a player who could just as easily go on to become a vital member of Tuchel’s team next season or find himself on the transfer list this summer. 

Hardly reliable? Pulisic’s injury concerns at Chelsea

The most frustrating thing about Pulisic since he made his £57.6 million move to Chelsea in 2019 is that when he’s been fit and ready to play, he’s often come up with the goods for the English giants. To date, the American winger has bagged 24 goals and 18 assists over the past three seasons, which works out at a perfectly respectable 0.57 goals and assists per 90 minutes. 

Bowen, Payet & more: Players with double digits in goals and assists (Top 10 leagues)

Jarrod Bowen | West Ham | 10 goals, 10 assists

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Market value: €35m

(Correct from: 2 May 2022)

Sergej Milinković-Savić | Lazio | 10 goals, 11 assists

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Market value: €70m

Dimitri Payet | Marseille | 12 goals, 10 assists

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Market value: €5m

Vinicius Junior | Real Madrid | 14 goals, 12 assists

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Market value: €100m

Jakob Jantscher | Sturm Graz | 12 goals, 15 assists

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Market value: €800,000

Dusan Tadic | Ajax | 13 goals, 17 assists

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Market value: €13m

Domenico Berardi | Sassuolo | 14 goals, 16 assists

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Market value: €35m

Christopher Nkunku | RB Leipzig | 17 goals, 15 assists

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Market value: €65m

Mehdi Taremi | FC Porto | 20 goals, 13 assists

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Market value: €17m

Mohamed Salah | FC Liverpool | 22 goals, 13 assists

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Market value: €100m

Karim Benzema | Real Madrid | 26 goals, 11 assists

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Market value: €25m

Kylian Mbappé | PSG | 24 goals, 16 assists

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Market value: €160m

Moussa Diaby | Bayer Leverkusen | 12 goals, 11 assists

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Market value: €55m

However, the problems undoubtedly arise from the fact that Pulisic has missed so many games through injury over the past three seasons. For example, in his first season at the club the winger was put for no less than 14 games, then in the 2020/21 campaign he missed a further 14 gaems due to four separate injuries. And this season has seen the 23-year-old talent miss another 14 games due to COVID and an ankle injury.

In total, Pulisic has missed no less than 44 games through injury since joining Chelsea. Not only does that mean that the winger has been out of action for 37 percent of the total game time he could have played for the club in the past three seasons, but it has also made it impossible for successive managers to incorporate him into their teams on a long-term basis. 

In other words, while Pulisic enjoys patches of form for Chelsea each season, he’s ultimately proved to be entirely unreliable for a manager like Tuchel to depend upon for the duration of an entire season. And that could ultimately lead to the Stamford Bridge side cashing in on the winger for a player that will be able to play week in, week out for Chelsea next season. 




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