Christian Pulisic-Manchester United transfer: Chelsea unwilling to loan USMNT star to competitor

Manchester United are looking to acquire Chelsea’s American winger Christian Pulisic, according to CBS Sports transfer insider Fabrizio Romano. Newcastle, Juventus oath Atletico Madrid have also inquired, but a loan move to Old Trafford does not appear to be likely at this time.

The Blues, and new club owner Todd Boehly specifically, would not be willing to loan Pulisic to United, a traditional rival, according to Romano. Of course, you never know when it comes to a full transfer, and with United’s struggles and interest in seemingly every player, anything can happen.

Despite winning the Champions League and other trophies with Chelsea, the United States men’s national team star has largely occupied back-up status during his time at Stamford Bridge. After joining from Borussia Dortmund for $70 million back in 2019, the now 23-year-old attacker is looking to rebound at the club level after a forgettable 2021-22 season. He missed all but one of the opening 10 league games due to COVID-19 and an ankle injury. He has also been used as a wingback at times by manager Thomas Tuchel. With new signings pushing him further down the depth chart, a move away may make the most sense in terms of getting minutes ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Blues are reportedly willing to listen to loan offers for the Pennsylvania native, who helped the United States qualify for the upcoming World Cup after missing out in 2018.

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Here are the pros and cons to a move to Man United for Pulisic:

Pro: Playing time

Pulisic has totaled 30 minutes of game time in Chelsea’s first two games of the season — a 1-0 win at Everton and a 2-2 draw with Tottenham. By comparison, newly acquired left winger Raheem Sterling has played 175 minutes. Sterling has played more in each half this season than Pulisic has in two games in total.

The American is fully a back-up at Chelsea who offers depth throughout the attack. He’d probably get decent minutes under Tuchel — and he’ll still produce — but we all know he isn’t overly pleased with his role there. He is hungry for more, and leaving the club is his best chance at improved minutes on the pitch because he is not going to outplay a simply better player in Sterling.

Con: Low-morale situation

Imagine entering a dysfunctional situation littered with tension and disbelief. That’s what Pulisic would be entering if he were to join United, a team that has lost back-to-back games to start the season and sits dead last in the Premier League, having conceded six goals. Oh, and their only goal was an own goal.

Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave, they failed to reach the Champions League last season, and as it currently stands, they’re not good enough to reach it this season. The situation could worsen before it gets better. Everybody wants to win, but this United team isn’t built to win anything more than a glorified preseason friendly with Liverpool. Entering a situation where there is low morale isn’t optimal.

Pro: Lack of depth gives him a chance

Nobody knows if Marcus Rashford is ever going to become the player everybody thought he would be at this point, but that lack of depth, especially on the left, gives Pulisic a clear opportunity to come in and compete for a starting job. While Rashford has created three chances in two starts, he has also been wasteful on his five shots. He’s coming off his worst statistical season in 2021-22, scoring five goals in 32 games. He had double-digit goals in five straight seasons, including at least 20 goals in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. The chance to come in and deliver, potentially putting himself in the mix to start consistently, has to be an attractive option.

Con: Doing it by himself?

Man United are broken at the moment. Their midfield is led by Fred and Scott McTominay, two players who should be borderline squad players, let alone starters for one of the world’s biggest clubs. The midfield is the heart and soul of the team, the transition to attack and to defense, yet Man United have an xG of 2.30 in two games with zero goals scored on their own. In conceding six goals to begin the campaign, the midfield duo combined for two tackles and seven interceptions.

The team’s creative engine, Bruno Fernandes, is touching the ball, creating shots and chances at a similar rate to last season, but that’s a bad sign. His assist production was cut in half last season, and he also scored eight less Premier League goals.

So the question is, who would be getting Pulisic the ball? At this time, the answer is not really clear. The production is down just like the club, and one player could not fix it in Ronaldo, and several will be needed to turn this ship around.

We are at a point when United fans would probably give up prized possessions just to have former midfielder Nicky Butt again.

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