Things seem pretty clear-cut at Chelsea. Coach Tomas Tuchel doesn’t trust winger Christian Pulisic. That much was clear even before it started being reported everywhere. If Tuchel had any sort of belief in Pulisic, then he would be playing. But the truth is that it would be better for Chelsea if the two managed to get along.
It’s a big year for Tuchel – he’s stayed with the team after the sale, and whether he admits it or not, he’s coming into the season with something to prove, and with a Chelsea side that doesn’t look as strong as it’s looked in previous years. Of course, part of it was due to the mess that led to the team being sold in the first place, and that led to a pretty quiet transfer market for one of the biggest soccer teams in the world.
And it’s, of course, a big year for Pulisic as well. Players of his category typically consider World Cup years big years, and though his USMNT isn’t coming into the next World Cup as a favorite to do much than get past the group stage, Pulisic, nicknamed “Captain America,” by fans, still has a lot to prove. He is, after all, only 23, and is set to come into the 2026 World Cup, which will be played in the United States, as a more mature leader. This means this World Cup, and the lead-up to it are very, very important.
The problem? He’s not getting minutes at Chelsea.
Part of it can be traced back to injury after injury. Pulisic has been with Chelsea for a few years, but he’s been injured for more time than he’s been available. It’s hard for a manager to trust you if he isn’t actually getting to see you play. In sports, trust is earned, and Tuchel might feel like he hasn’t seen enough of Pulisic being regular to trust him on the pitch. Which is all fine and good, except that …Tuchel is either going to trust him at some point, or he isn’t. And if the answer is the latter, then Pulisic deserves a chance to get himself a new team.
It’s hard to definitely say that Chelsea would benefit more from keeping one or the other, particularly as it’s just an exercise in thought. Tuchel isn’t going anywhere, and with the importance big teams place on not just managers, but team “projects,” it’s likely they’re more willing to part with a player the coach doesn’t trust than to start over because Pulisic doesn’t fit with the Chelsea of today.
But, wouldn’t it be great if the two could just get along? Right now, everyone’s frustrated and it looks like a Pulisic exit is imminent. But with Chelsea not a team that’s fighting for a Premier League Championship or a Champions League, but a Top 5 spot at best, getting Pulisic back to form and happy to be at Chelsea would be a very happy ending for all parties involved. Now, how do we make that happen?