The transfer window is closing soon, and that would normally mean a pretty furious avalanche of rumors, requests, offers, and stories. Deadline day has become sports-free agency day in the NHL or NBA (or even election night), with masses of reporters spread across the European continent breathlessly covering physicals. and types of cars arriving and not arriving. There is only one day in August and January that we see a cavalcade of journalists standing in a parking lot in the rain in the hope of seeing a car with tinted windows pass. It’s a little more entertaining than TSN reporters standing in the scorching sun outside empty arenas and practice facilities on Canada Day, but probably only because of the accents.
The August window is even tighter, as not only are clubs like Barcelona and Manchester United scrambling and clinging to whatever they can find on the shelves, and the clubs they ultimately buy need to find substitutes and down the line, but players are frantic trying to secure bigger roles to solidify their place on a World Cup roster or be as sharp as possible when that tournament rolls around in November. Normally, with a summer World Cup, players would do this in the January transfer window and have a much more solid idea of where they fit in with their current team and manager with the season already half over. Trying to do it in August means trying to do a lot of showings on your place and then having to guess if that will be enough before everyone leaves for Qatar.
This brings us to Christian Pulisic. Captain America, at least when Tyler Adams isn’t wearing the armband. Still America’s most accomplished player, and probably still the most talented. When the chips are down in Qatar and the United States need a goal after the 80th minute, it’s always him you count on to do shit unless Gio Reyna’s legs stop working. be made of graham crackers. Pulisic, Gregg Berhalter, and all USMNT fans would prefer Pulisic to play consistently, at the top of his game, and most importantly, healthy at the World Cup.
For once, the last part is in place, for now. It’s always ‘for now’ with Pulisic, who also has his own ligament tendencies. You can never be sure with Christian. And while very few American fans would admit it, the idea of Pulisic being just a super substitute and starter for Chelsea over the next two and a half months is acceptable, because of the chance of something happening TWANG! is so much lower. Maybe he won’t be as sharp as possible, but he will be on the pitch and given Pulisic’s history on the pitch, that’s a relief. Of course, we can all easily imagine the loudest gaping maws in the mainstream media just showing up for a World Cup spitting their pollutant on him if he doesn’t score a hat trick against Wales. We’ll take care of it then.
But Pulisic himself isn’t content with being part of Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel. He was never able to carve out a place in the top 11 (even though he played for Tuchel at Dortmund), either due to his spotty injury history or his spotty performances. Pulisic had just 13 starts last season in the league, four more in the Champions League. Above all, have your campaign known for that. He hasn’t started in either of Chelsea’s first two games so far this season. This was after Raheem Sterling was brought in to reinforce the front three, although Romelu Lukaku was subtracted. Timo Werner too. The numbers are still pretty much the same. But there are rumors that Chelsea is hot on Everton’s Anthony Gordon, apparently feeling they have to fulfill a quota of ‘awkward ginger who dives all the time. Pulisic feels the crunch.
It’s not that Pulisic would ever lose his spot on the USMNT team, and probably not even the starting roster. But Pulisic has waited four years for this tournament, to play there for the first time, and thanks to 2018’s dry full-body heave of the entire setup, he may only have one or two after that- this. He does not want to go there and go away.
And it was this level of desperation that led to the rumor that not only did Manchester United request a loan but that Pulisic didn’t laugh them out of the building. You know you’re bad and maybe not thinking straight when you consider the offer of the greatest basketball team in the league, on the continent, and quite possibly on the planet. Yeah, Pulisic could play a lot, and in this game, he could completely lose his desire for the sport or fall into a sinkhole on the Old Trafford pitch, that’s how they go.
Would Pulisic play at United? It would depend on whether Marcus Rashford leaves for PSG, which is another rumor. That would essentially leave Anthony Martial as pretty much the only competition on the left side of United’s attack. And although Martial is in his fourth or fifth straight year in “best form of his life!” stories announcing an upcoming rebound campaign, if it were to happen, it would have happened. Pulisic can probably carve out a place ahead of him. Even though Rashford isn’t moving, he’s been so sad for so long that he’s not a huge hindrance either.
But play in what? Erik Ten Hag is only two games into the season and can’t decide if he can play the way he wants with the players he has or if he has to rearrange everything to get results in order to stay enough high in the table to get the players he needs. play as he wants. Christian Eriksen was introduced as a defensive midfielder last time out, and he’s in his 30s with a heart defect. That’s where they are. If Ronaldo stays, Pulisic can expect a combo from Ronaldo to fall into his space and then rattle him when Pulisic doesn’t pass the ball to him. Oh, and he’ll have to run and squeeze Ronaldo while Ronaldo scowls and huffs and makes sure the cameras capture how dissatisfied he is and how beneath him he thinks the rest of the team is. And given the pressure already on Ten Hag, one or two questionable performances could see Pulisic drop out of the squad anyway and something else thrown against the wall.
Here’s another thing: Chelsea has 21 games (at least) between now and the World Cup. Fourteen in the league, six in the Champions League, and one League Cup match. From the end of the month, Chelsea will have practically only one week where there will be no midweek game until the World Cup. Twenty-one games in 83 days, plus an international break. Pulisic will start. The five substitutes ensure he will likely be on the pitch a lot, even if only for 20-30 minutes at a time. He is one injury away from starting regularly. And in a team that has a clear plan, a clear style, where his role will be strictly defined. And it’s not that different from what he’s tasked with doing with the United States. Sounds a lot better than showing up regularly for a team that every week looks more like a community theater production of Marat/Sade.
Don’t do this, Christian. Patience, son. Just because the abyss is staring at you doesn’t mean you have to dive headlong into it.