Christian Pulisic provided his fourth assist of the season on Saturday, with a brilliant through-ball for former Borussia Dortmund teammate Michy Batshuayi in Chelsea’s 4-1 win over Southampton.
The American, however, is struggling for minutes with the Blues. He played only the final 10 minutes at Southampton, when the game was already wrapped up at 3-1.
He was an unused substitute in the three matches prior and for Chelsea’s Champions League visit to Lille last week, the 21-year-old was left out of the squad entirely. In the entire month of September, his only appearance came in a League Cup win over fourth-tier Grimsby Town.
Pulisic has admitted the experience is “very frustrating,” while manager Frank Lampard has reasoned that he must make “harsh decisions” as the American continues to try and prove himself in training.
Right now, it seems that Pulisic is quite far away from making the starting XI in the Premier or Champions League. Willian and Pedro are getting more minutes in the wide positions, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is also playing brilliantly since returning from injury. Even Mason Mount, traditionally a central player, has been used on the flank ahead of Pulisic, and Ross Barkley is keeping him out of a start in the middle.
So it could be argued that he actually sits at sixth in the midfield depth charts.
Not only is the $73m signing competing against some established stars, but he is trying to earn a spot over some heavily favored English youth prospects, who have worked their way through the Chelsea academy, and who are very familiar with Lampard.
That truly makes it an uphill battle for top flight action. Some British newspapers are reporting that will ask for a loan transfer in January, if he continues to be overlooked.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the American: if he continues to keep his head down and train hard, he will get his shot as we get deeper into the season and Chelsea compete on four fronts.
And prominent Premier League midfielders like Bernardo Silva and Fabinho show that new big money signings don’t always breakthrough straight away, but they eventually get their chance to shine.
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