The reasons why Pulisic’s AC Milan journey has impressed

By Oliver Fisher -

Christian Pulisic has been nothing short of a revelation since he arrived at AC Milan during the summer transfer window, even setting a personal record. But questions of his future loom as a changing of the guard is on the horizon.

Pulisic joined on a multi-year deal from Chelsea and Milan hoped that he would follow the path of Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud, who had fallen by the wayside there but became key performers with a change in scenery.

It would be fair to say that the desired effect has been achieved, while the same can be said for Ruben Loftus-Cheek who also swapped Stamford Bridge for San Siro.

Why Pulisic’s Milan journey impressed

If you like online betting, you’ll know that Pulisic has a trend of scoring important goals. When he does get on the scoresheet Milan often wins too, as shown by the 11 victories in the 12 games in which the American netted, with Monza the only exception.

Pulisic might well be experiencing a second youth given he is only 25 years old, but his experience with Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea – who probably overpaid for him – have formed the player he is today.

The winger cost Milan €20m last summer but he has gone beyond all expectations, especially if you consider how his last year at Chelsea went with knee problems and just one goal to his name, so much so that they were willing to offload him for a big loss.

The result? Milan has a new star. With nine league games still remaining and between two and five in the Europa League, Pulisic has both equaled and surpassed his previous highs in terms of goalscoring.

His goal against Hellas Verona before the break was number nine in Serie A, the same figure as in 2019-20, his first year at Chelsea. He is on 13 goals in all competitions, which is a record. The previous high was 11, also dating back to 2019-20.

In his own words

You don’t have to just take our word for it though. Pulisic expressed his joy after the United States national team won the CONCACAF Nations League final against Mexico on Sunday night, crediting Milan with his return to form.

“I’m loving life in Milan, it’s incredible. I have found confidence again, I think you can see it from how I play. It’s fantastic there, but also to come back here [to the USA], win another trophy… I really like being back in the national team with this team,” he said.

“I never thought I’d feel so comfortable on the right if I’m honest. But I still prefer to play on the left because of how I can cut in to the right, but I must admit that I have learned a lot, my way of playing has changed a lot and I have found ways to get into the area and score goals even starting from the right. I think I have a lot of qualities and can do well in both areas of the pitch.”

The Pulisic effect, however, is not only felt on the pitch but also off it given the commercial impact that he has had.

The captain of the United States national team took the number 11 shirt, the one that belonged to Zlatan Ibrahimović, and there has been a boom in sales.

A season of triumph and uncertainty

Christian Pulisic has taken Serie A by storm in his debut season with AC Milan. His 13 goals have shattered his personal best and cemented his place as a regular under manager Stefano Pioli. However, a potential managerial change looms large, casting a shadow over Pulisic’s future.

Former USMNT player Alexi Lalas highlights the inherent risk: “A new coach brings new ideas, and players might not fit the vision.” While a potential departure would be a blow after such a stellar season, Lalas assures there will be plenty of suitors for the American winger.

Despite a secure contract until 2027, Pulisic faces the challenge of impressing a potential new coach. Competition within the squad further complicates things. Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze, another summer signing, is pushing for a bigger role.

Chukwueze’s recent resurgence threatens Pulisic’s starting position. Despite a subdued performance in the recent Juventus draw, Pulisic retained his starting spot, with Chukwueze entering late. Pioli’s post-match explanation highlighted his tactical preference for a defensive midfielder over a four-forward formation, sacrificing Chukwueze’s playing time.

However, Pioli has shown a willingness to deploy both players together. Pulisic’s occasional shift to a central attacking role allows Chukwueze to flourish on the wing, as evidenced by the assist he provided for Pulisic against Lecce.

One area where Pulisic has faced criticism is his performance in high-profile matches. Pundit Luca Serafini of Milan TV points out Pulisic’s lack of impact in big games: “He has been lacking a bit.”

Serafini contrasts this with Chukwueze’s consistent decisiveness, suggesting the Nigerian could eventually usurp Pulisic’s starting role.

“From the point of view of his participation, and [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek, I would expect more in some moments. Pioli relies on his faithful at the moment. Chukwueze is a player of the future, when we said that certain players must be waited on it is true. He is proving to be worth the search last year and the money that Milan spent.”

While the criticism regarding big games holds some weight – Pulisic failed to score against Milan’s major rivals and in the Europa League quarter-finals – it shouldn’t overshadow his overall contribution. He has scored against other respectable opponents and delivered a crucial Champions League goal against Newcastle.

Pulisic’s record with the US national team paints a different picture. His clutch performances are undeniable, including the goals that secured World Cup qualification and a Nations League semi-final victory.

Christian Pulisic’s future at Milan hinges on several factors. A managerial change could disrupt his established role. He’ll need to prove his worth to a potential new boss while fending off competition from a resurgent Chukwueze.

Despite questions about big-game performances, Pulisic’s overall contribution is undeniable. Only time will tell how he navigates these challenges and writes the next chapter of his Milan story.

Tags AC Milan Christian Pulisic
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