Buidling Dreams Together


Can Christian Pulisic Re-Ignite His Career At AC Milan?

Christian Pulisic has made the move from England to Italy as the American winger looks to get his career back on track.

AC Milan’s second piece of business this summer was to sign Chelsea’s out-of-favour winger Christian Pulisic for a total transfer fee that could rise to £18.8 million (€22 million).

Pulisic had a difficult spell at Chelsea after a promising beginning. He joined the Blues from Borussia Dortmund for £58 million in 2019 and has left the London club with his stock value seriously depleted.

However, at the age of 24, Pulisic still has much to offer his new club. His stand-out quality is his ball-carrying with AC Milan already having brilliant ball carriers in Rafael Leão and Theo Hernández, however, they lack depth and quality in this department. 

Brahim Díaz, Alexis Saelemakers and Junior Messias were Milan’s other decent ball carriers last year, however, Díaz has returned to Real Madrid while Saelemakers and Messias struggled to find form last season. 

Diaz was Milan’s third top goalscorer with six league goals whilst Saelemakers and Messias scored seven between them.

The best of Pulisic would be an upgrade on the current AC Milan squad, but his last four years need to be removed from his career-best season. Coming into this season, he will be looking to reignite his career at AC Milan, and if this signing is a success, it will be a good bit of transfer business from the Milan side.

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The American Winger At His Best

Christian Pulisic’s best year at Chelsea was in 2019/20 when he scored nine goals and provided four assists in 25 games in a total of 1,722 minutes.

This put his goal contributions per 90 minutes at 0.68 nearly matching his 0.66 expected goals/assisted goals per 90 minutes.

Based on his minutes and contributions, this put him as one of the best-performing wingers in the Premier League and this was mostly down to his direct nature. 

Pulisic likes to run directly and shoot early with his numbers for progressive carries (5.59 per 90), successful take-ons (2.87 per 90), total shots (3.29 per 90), and shots on target (1.31 per 90) all above the 90th percentile in the Premier League. 

With this being his first season in the Premier League, it was a promising start for the young American. The only player who offers similar qualities in the Milan squad is Rafael Leão, who is AC Milan’s main attacking piece. 

Should Pulisic return to the level he was at in the 2019/20 season, it would ease the attacking burden from Leão and potentially give him more space to operate.

Constantly Plagued With Injuries

Pulisic struggles to stay on the pitch, and in four years at Chelsea, he managed to play in over 50% of the league minutes in only two seasons. His previous two seasons, he managed around 2,000 minutes, less than 30% of the available league minutes.

Last season, he played 821 minutes scoring one goal in the league and there are a few reasons for this but the main one is injuries. 

YearGames Missed through Injury

If Pulisic is to be a larger success in Milan, his injury record will have to improve, but unfortunately for the American, there is a wide variety of injuries ranging from his knee, ankle, hamstring, calf abductor, groin and other muscle problems. 

Other issues for Pulisic came from Thomas Tuchel’s change of system as well as increasing competition at the club for his best position on the left wing which also creates a problem for Stefano Pioli to ponder. 

Leão’s main position for Milan last season was coming off the left with Olivier Giroud often starting up front, however, Pulisic is flexible and can play on the right wing but it’s not his preferred role. 

Pulisic has issues with his passing and he often dribbles with his head down meaning his final pass can often never come or it is of poor quality. The best example of this is in the FA Cup Final against Liverpool. Pulisic had a chance to roll in Lukaku late into the game but he failed to lift his eyes off his boots leaving the Belgium exasperated at his service. 

Overall, the upside for Pulisic is high if the transfer works out. He is still only 24 and there are areas of vast improvement for him. Despite this, a fit and firing Pulisic has the quality to instantly improve this Milan side.

There is the ability for a wide player to get double-digit goals while being brilliant at taking on his man one on one, and at this price, it is unlikely to get a top winger capable of scoring goals. However, if he stays fit, we could see him begin to develop into the player he can be with the potential of being a bargain for AC Milan if things go well. 

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