Christian Pulisic’s potential Manchester United loan has appeal after years of Chelsea uncertainty

Thomas Tuchel’s comment in his press conference following his first game in charge at Chelsea seemed entirely innocuous.

“It was an unfair decision for him today to not start,” the German said of Christian Pulisic, whom he had previously coached as a teenager making his professional debut at Borussia Dortmund. “I told him it was only because I know what he can bring from the bench.”

But that thought in January 2021 proved to be a harbinger of what has become a tenuous spell for Pulisic under Tuchel — one that may be nearing its breaking point.

Pulisic arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2019 having altered the perception for what is possible for American players in Europe. 

 If Clint Dempsey opened the door for creative Americans at the game’s highest level, Pulisic introduced the possibility that they can be found at younger ages and fostered to star status.

He remains a central figure for a youthful U.S. national team that will go to Qatar with a level of expectation and optimism that is unlike that of any other U.S. men’s team.

Even with a Champions League title and some bright individual moments at Chelsea, his time in West London has been far from perfect, though. 

 Over the last 18 months, especially, Pulisic has been in a constant fight to prove his place on the field under Tuchel, at times even when he is producing and playing well.