Manchester United have now been linked with what feels like their 9,000th player this summer. This time, they’ve joined the race for Christian Pulisic, the American winger, who looks likely to leave Stamford Bridge on the hunt for more gametime.
Frustrated with his lack of starts under Thomas Tuchel and now just a fringe player of the Chelsea squad, the American is desperate to get more minutes ahead of the World Cup, which begins in November.
The move looks likely to be a loan one at this moment in time and Newcastle United have already stated their interest in signing him, but now Manchester United have entered the fray. Having been linked with Marco Arnautovic and Adrien Rabiot over the last few weeks, Pulisic marks an interesting step forward, even though he is just the latest name to be caught in the firing line of United’s scattergun approach.
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If you throw enough fishing rods in the water, eventually one of them will catch a fish and well, perhaps Pulisic is that fish. Plainly, he doesn’t address United’s top priority which is central midfielders as their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong continues to move at a snail’s place, but he does give them another attacking option.
He is far from the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle, but he is an improvement on what they have in attacking areas. Marcus Rashford has been in poor form for the past twelve months, Anthony Martial at 26 is still no better than he was when he arrived and Cristiano Ronaldo is stropping about desperately trying to leave the club.
Jadon Sancho has a clear level of ability but is yet to flourish so perhaps bringing in competition for those wide places will drive United forward. Pulisic may not have been given enough gametime at Chelsea but every time he has played he has done pretty well.
Importantly for United, he is a more than capable presser that boasts stamina and pace, which should suit Ten Hag’s style. So far, his side have struggled to implement his gameplan but Pulisic would fit into the Dutchman’s plans, rather than stick out like a sore thumb.
He also fits the profile of the type of players United should be going for as they revamp their team. He’s only 23, and although a loan option will be the initial deal, it opens the door for a permanent move next summer if all parties are happy. Contrast this with the shambolic signings that United have made since 2013 and it seems like a small step forward.
United still need a central striker if Ronaldo departs. They certainly need a central midfielder that is better than Scott McTominay and Fred. But the interest in Pulisic shouldn’t be dismissed as another talented player on his way to underperform at Old Trafford. He is the right age and the right profile to succeed at the club and although it isn’t a position United are crying out for, Ten Hag is desperate for fresh faces and it could spark the others to raise their game.