Where next for Christian Pulisic? USMNT star's best possible landing spot

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Christian Pulisic Chelsea HIC 16:9
The Chelsea winger has come to a crossroad - GOAL takes a look at the 24-year-old's options heading into a career-defining summer

There's a pretty good chance that we've seen the last of Christian Pulisic in a Chelsea jersey. He may not admit it publicly, at least not yet, but there's a feeling that this summer is the right time for all involved to move on. Pulisic and Chelsea won a Champions League together, and one would hope that leaves a lasting legacy, but, given the dysfunction of this past season, both sides would benefit from moving on.

Pulisic, set to turn 25 in September, is no longer in the 'young player' category. He's still developing, for sure, but the U.S. men's national team star is at a point in his career where he needs to be playing regularly. That didn't happen this past season at Chelsea, where he managed just over 1,000 minutes under three different coaches while struggling with fitness and form.

Chelsea, meanwhile, need to clear up the squad, having signed just about every player under the sun over the last year. The club could certainly use some money, too, making Pulisic a prime candidate to move on.

So, that brings us to the summer, one full of juicy transfer rumors from all over the continent. Pulisic has been linked to just about every major club, but no clear-cut frontrunner has truly emerged for his services. It is believed that a fee between £20 and £40 million would get the job done, and reports have said that Pulisic is willing to take a pay cut to go to the right club.

But which club is the right club? GOAL breaks down Pulisic's options...

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  1. Newcastle
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    Of the clubs in England, Newcastle felt like the most logical fit.

    They're outside the big six, but now have big-six money. Pulisic, a Champions League winner, is seemingly the right kind of player for them to be signing as they look to steadily move into that elite tier in England.

    However, according to the Athletic, Newcastle are no longer interested as they themselves prepare for a massive summer. They had previously enquired about taking Pulisic on loan, according to reports, but the club is now said to be moving on to other targets.

    Which is a shame for Pulisic, really, as Newcastle would have seemingly represented the right kind of move for him to be making: not a step up, not a step down, but a step right back into the Champions League.

  2. Manchester United

    Manchester United

    Manchester United have previously been linked to Pulisic, although it seems that interest has somewhat cooled.

    In reality, the move would represent progress for Pulisic, who would leave a struggling Chelsea for a Manchester United team seemingly on the rise. With several key players at the club also facing uncertain futures, there's a path to more regular playing time at Old Trafford than there ever was at Stamford Bridge.

    Man Utd, though, need a striker more than anything. The club is very much a No.9 away from competing at a higher level, and one would expect them to throw everything they have at that position. Their winger depth is also pretty solid, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Antony and Alejandro Garnacho with the club, and Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo on the way up.

    Aside from a striker, there are other positions of need, with a midfielder, defender and goalkeeper all possibly coming in.

    Chelsea may not be willing to sell to Man Utd either, which further complicates any potential move.

  3. France


    Realistically, there's only one club in Ligue 1 that would likely be able to afford a move. And, while that club will need attackers this summer, no doubt, it doesn't seem that Pulisic really fits the bill.

    PSG have already lost Lionel Messi this summer, and it looks like Kylian Mbappe could be close behind. That would leave PSG totally reeling in the attack, with only the oft-injured Neymar returning from their three-headed monster up top.

    Should they sell Mbappe, PSG would have a massive transfer budget to work with, but is Pulisic really in the class of player they would look to attract? He has won a Champions League, of course, and that is the club PSG are so desperate to win, but is he the type of player that really gets them any closer, especially with Mbappe out the door?

    PSG really may end up being the most interesting team of the summer, especially if Mbappe moves. Pulisic could, logically, be an answer at winger, but who knows what the leadership in Paris will cook up as they look to replace one or two superstars?

  4. Germany
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    While Pulisic's reputation has taken a bit of a hit in England, those in Germany will still remember him fondly. He was a hell of a player for Borussia Dortmund and Bundesliga fans have long had a better opinion of USMNT players than most of their European counterparts.

    However, it's hard to see a landing spot in Germany for Pulisic, even with his good reputation there.

    Bayern Munich are, of course, managed by Thomas Tuchel, and it's unlikely either party will be desperate for a third go-around together. Pulisic's 2022 book took a shot at Tuchel and the relationship never seemingly recovered. The two worked wonders together at some points and struggled to work together at others. That time has passed.

    Dortmund, meanwhile, have plenty of depth in the attack. So much depth, in fact, that they've struggled to incorporate their own USMNT star, Gio Reyna. Plus, after selling Jude Bellingham this summer, they'll likely be looking to reinforce the midfield more than anything.

    Can any other club in Germany afford Pulisic? Probably not. Perhaps RB Leipzig or Union Berlin could figure something out due to their status as Champions League participants, but Germany doesn't look like a real possibility at this point.

  5. Spain


    Traditionally, Spanish soccer hasn't been too kind to Americans, although that has changed in recent years. Still, La Liga doesn't quite look like the right destination for Pulisic.

    Barcelona are dealing with their financial issues, making them unable to afford yet another winger after signing Raphinha and Ferran Torres last year. Real Madrid, meanwhile, are all in on their new Galacticos, with Jude Bellingham and, perhaps, Kylian Mbappe incoming. The club also needs a striker after seeing Karim Benzema leave this summer, which makes Harry Kane the Premier League star they're most likely to chase.

    Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid would be an interesting landing spot but, stylistically, it probably wouldn't be the right move for Pulisic, who wouldn't have the freedom to attack that he'd really want... And, other than that, there really aren't any Spanish clubs that are operating in the right tax bracket to pull off a Pulisic deal.

  6. Napoli


    We now move into the clubs that truly make the most sense, starting with the Serie A winners.

    Napoli were the story of Italian soccer this year as they ran away with the Scudetto. Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia became household names and Napoli, for the first time since Diego Maradona was running the show, are on top of Italy.

    However, success comes with a price. Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia have both been linked with massive transfer moves. When you're a club like Napoli, bigger clubs will always be able to come knocking and, most times, you'll be powerless to resist.

    Because of that, we really don't know what Napoli will look like come next season. Can they keep hold of their two stars and try to run it back? Or will they be a rebuilding team looking to sign new breakout stars with hundreds of millions in the bank after selling off their championship heroes?

    Either way, Pulisic is the type of player that would make sense for Napoli. They could use more depth on the wing, especially with Hirving Lozano facing an uncertain future as well. And, for a club looking to remain at the top of Italian soccer, it would help to bring in a player like Pulisic that has proven he can play, and score, at a high level.

    The marketing factor wouldn't hurt, either, and, for a club the size of Napoli, that has to be factored in as well. Put this down as one that would make sense for all involved.

  7. Juventus


    We stay in Serie A with Juventus, a club that obviously offers something much different than Napoli.

    Juve, of course, are a club in turmoil, having been hit by a point deduction for violating financial laws. Because of that, they can't offer Champions League soccer, having finished seventh because of that sanction.

    They can, however, offer the fact that they are Juventus, and that still does mean something. They'll always be able to draw players. They'll surely be looking to change their financial structure going forward, but Pulisic isn't a player like, say, Cristiano Ronaldo, that will totally blow up your salary system.

    Is the on-field fit there? It seems, so yeah. They have Federico Chiesa on one side but, with Angel Di Maria leaving, there is an opening on the other. Pulisic could play either out wide, as a wingback or perhaps even centrally, either as a No.10 or second striker.

    Tactically, it seems to make perfect sense, although Juve first must figure out what to do with the American they currently have on the books, Weston McKennie...

  8. AC Milan
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    AC Milan

    Take Napoli's recent success and Juventus' elite status and you end up with AC Milan, the club that may just be the best option for the USMNT winger.

    Fresh off a Champions League semifinal spot and a 2021-22 Scudetto, Milan are back near the top of Italian soccer, even if they still have a long way to go to capture their 90s and early 2000s heyday. However, while this last season was by all accounts a solid one, they did miss on several big signings, leaving them needing a bit more quality if they wish to keep up with the top of Serie A.

    It seemed that much would depend on if they could keep hold of Raphael Leao, a player that Chelsea have previously been interested in. However, the winger recently signed a new contract, taking away the option of using Pulisic as a makeweight in any sort of deal.

    Even with Milan keeping Leao, having Pulisic on the right wing would be an improvement on their current options. The club is lacking top-level attackers and, at 24, Pulisic is the perfect age to be a building block for years to come.

    Add in the marketing factor for a club that already has a significant following overseas and you get what feels like a mutually beneficial deal. One player currently at the club, Olivier Giroud, certainly thinks so, as he backed his former Chelsea teammate to be a success in Milan should he make the move.

    "I think people here would love it," Giroud told Morning Footy. "He's definitely a big name in Europe, so he would help us."

    Milan are one of the few clubs that check all the boxes: need, finances, relevancy, and history. They're perhaps the best equipped to get a job done, but things change quickly in the transfer market.