Chelsea fans cannot have it both ways with Christian Pulisic

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

Ever since the season ended, many supporters have spent time making line-ups and partaking in a handful of discussions about which players the Blues should keep and which players they should sell once the transfer window opens up. Some names have been consistently circulating in the “sell” conversations — Pulisic being one of them. At least, that was the case initially. Reasons like fitness and underwhelming performances were cited for wanting him sold, but now the mindset amongst the fans has shifted following recent reports.

Chelsea fans cannot have it both ways this summer with Christian Pulisic

The mood-changing event was the widespread report that Liverpool is now interested in the American. The Red have agreed to sell Sadio Mane, which means that they will need to replace the Senegal winger as soon as they can. Liverpool’s interest seems to have made many of the aforementioned Chelsea fans not want him sold anymore. Apparently, the thought that one of the best teams in the country does not consider Pulisic to be a disappointment is disconcerting. The Blues’ attack has been blamed for their problems this season and therefore, one of the highest-scoring teams in the country valuing a member of said attack does not seem to make sense.

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

Evidence shows that Pulisic has been quite efficient as a forward this season. Efficiency is a theme of Liverpool forwards too, so it’s unsurprising that the Champions League runner-up is interested in him. However, there are Chelsea fans who feel he — like all other forwards — has been useless and inconsistent. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way about one’s players. The problem is now, these same fans do not want him to be sold to Liverpool. If you were to ask these supporters what their preferred line-up is, they’d not include Pulisic. In fact, some of them would not include Pulisic in their 20-man matchday squad for a majority of matches. If you do not want him to start regularly for the club, why do you still want to still keep him around?

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The first reason is arrogance. Many Blues fans overestimate the prestige and sway their club has and so they think having a contract with the club should be enough to satisfy a player. You may have heard some Chelsea supporters state that “if he does not want to be here, I do not want him here,” “I only want players who are passionate about this club” or other nonsensical statements. None of that 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. This arrogance makes fans think players like Pulisic would be satisfied being a fringe player for them, even though nothing suggests that would be the case, especially if a team like Liverpool is interested in acquiring the American.

The second part of it is selfishness. Many of these fans know that if Pulisic stays, he’ll be getting fringe minutes and his development would be further hampered. But they just do not care. They’re not interested in the player. However, if they get any inkling that he might be useful to a rival, they’d rather keep him and let him rot on the bench than let him go and ply his trade elsewhere. You can not have it both ways though. Your perception of his ability and prowess should not be determined by a rival club. You ether consider him important to the club and want to keep him, or you consider him not good enough and want him sold.

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

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