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Why did Christian Pulisic stay at Chelsea?

The American star was not moved during the summer transfer window, and it probably wasn’t due to asking price.

Leeds United v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

As everyone knows by now, despite rumors placing him in Premier League clubs such as Manchester United and Newcastle United, as well as Champions League clubs in Italy (Juventus) and Spain, Christian Pulisic is after all, remaining with Chelsea, at least until the winter transfer window. But did the front office really want to move him? Were the new American ownership group really looking for a highest bidder or for the American to land somewhere he would be immediately required in the starting lineup? My guess is no, not really. In other words, the summer transfer window closing without him being sent out on loan (which is what is said to have been their condition) was always the front office’s true intention, even if they made it seem otherwise.

Here are the main motives for Chelsea not having moved Pulisic:

They need the extra pair of legs and keeping a star who knows system inside-out

Chelsea are not only competing for the Premier League title and Champions League. They also have the Carabao Cup third round fixture coming up just before the World Cup and FA Cup fixtures just following it. Talk about a packed schedule. So, the fact they’re involved in four different competitions along with many (and I mean MANY) of their players coming off World Cup performances (himself included) means they need the depth, and that is what Pulisic provides, if nothing else. He is a quality player who can make a difference, and you never know if injuries will be a thing for other players, forcing playing time for him at some point. Chelsea could be keeping him as insurance, though I’d be surprised if this was the case. It is a possibility, however.

Whether they considered it or not, the fact of the matter is Pulisic has now been at Chelsea for the past three years, going on his fourth. Like it or not, he knows the players on the current roster perfectly and knew Tuchel’s system to perfection as well, before he was relieved of his duties last week that is. But the same will apply for Graham Potter’s new system and stlye of play. The American will learn it and adapt as the rest of his teammates, and can provide help at any point down the line in at least knowing the system and being familiarized with his teammates. He may even regain his starting role under Potter. We know he has the talent to do it in the very least, even though the addition of Aubameyang will surely complicate that.

They’re waiting for World Cup to pass to sell him at increased (or max) value

This is something that happens in every single World Cup, and everyone knows it. It’s obvious that it’s impossible to get leverage over other interested clubs when your player has been riding the bench or hasn’t been a key starter over a period of time, not to mention when he’s unhappy there as well. That could lead to him being in worse shape than usual, and these are all combined factors that’ll drive down any player’s price. That includes Pulisic. It’s not rocket science either. He’s a vital part of the US National Team’s attack, and chances are he’ll shine in his role considering he’s a focal point of that offense. That will allow Chelsea to drive his value up exponentially depending on just HOW well he performs, and they can profit much more off of him by waiting four more months to sell in the winter transfer window. Trust me, they’re being very smart.

They knew Tuchel didn’t have much time left; will bet on Potter getting the best out of him

The transfer window closed on Thursday, September 1st. Less than a week later, Thomas Tuchel was no longer Chelsea’s head coach, after they suffered a 1-0 road loss to Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener. So, front office probably knew time was up soon, and since it was Tuchel who didn’t see a fit for Pulisic, they figured the American might be reborn under whoever their new head coach would be (ex-Brighton Graham Potter in this case). Pulisic has proven he has the talent and hunger to play in a club of this height, and they know it. Maybe they want to give it these next couple months to see if a change is all he needs.

They didn’t mind keeping him on the payroll if they hadn’t found a replacement

Despite the fact Pulisic is an expensive player, he’s not nearly the most expensive player on the Chelsea roster. In fact, according to Capology, there are seven players who receive a higher salary than the American (150,000 GBP per week). So, his might not be a salary they mind keeping in their books for a few more months, considering they’d easily pay it off and more if they did sell him for an increased value after the World Cup. With that being said however, a replacement they did end up finding in Aubameyang, and a much more expensive replacement in that. The issue here is the fact Auba was signed in the dying hours of the transfer window. Upon the situation’s uncertainty, it makes sense they decided to play it safe and keep Pulisic in the event the Auba transfer didn’t follow through.

If you ask me, I have my bet on options 2 and 3. I think it’s a combination of both them looking to sell him for a much higher value than where he’s at now, and the new ownership also knew Tuchel wouldn’t be around much longer, considering their early season struggles, and wanted to see if a new leader could make a difference in him. Whether this will come to fruition or not remains to be seen, but it sure makes a lot of sense. Why else wouldn’t you move a player with that talent you’ve had riding the bench and you know is unhappy?