USA international Christian Pulisic would “still be” in the Chelsea team if he was Dutch or Italian, according to former Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The forward left Stamford Bridge in the summer transfer window for AC Milan in a deal worth a maximum of €22m after three-and-a-half seasons with the Blues.
Pulisic joined Chelsea for £58m from Borussia Dortmund in January 2019 but he could never make the impact he wanted under a number of managers with 26 goals in 145 appearances in all competitions.
But Howard, who played for both Man Utd and Everton in the Premier League, reckons it’s tougher for Americans than other nationalities in the Premier League and that Pulisic would still be in the Chelsea team if he was from somewhere else.
Howard said on the Offside with Taylor Twellman podcast: “For as much as people want to say that the landscape has changed for Americans, it has not. I think Christian Pulisic did a brilliant job.
“When he was called upon in that Chelsea team, if he was Dutch or Italian or anything else, he’d still be in the team, he wouldn’t be the first one pulled off the pitch, he wouldn’t be a substitute. He’s that good, he’s showing that at Milan now, so as an American it’s tough. You have to do it every day.”
Ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is confused by the Premier League club’s summer spending spree and is struggling to “see the construction of the team”.
Begovic told The Byline podcast of business in west London: “If you’re spending £115m on Caicedo, surely you spend £120m on Declan Rice? I don’t know Declan personally, I’m not saying he doesn’t want to play for Arsenal, but hand on heart I think he’d have wanted to go to Chelsea.
“You look at some of these players and think, ‘How is Declan Rice going somewhere else?’ Players like this, they would go to Chelsea in the past; players in their prime, and Declan Rice is in his prime.
“I watch football like a mad man and I’m not familiar with half these players! For me it’s odd, the whole thing is very odd. I don’t see the construction of the team, this whole rebuilding transition phase is a bit of an excuse to me.
“I’m not saying I don’t like Enzo Fernandez, but if we’re going to spend £230m on him and Caicedo then I’d prefer Declan Rice over any of those players if I can get him. Get the best players in through the door please.”
Chelsea have spent over £1billion on new players since a Todd Boehly-led consortium took control of the club from Roman Abramovich in May 2022.
Begovic added: “Honestly, I mean in the last 12 months… what has happened at Chelsea football club? It just beggars belief. I mean the squad of players at Mauricio Pochettino’s disposal, the amount of money spent is 12th in the league – it’s mid-table! It is literally mid-table.
“If they were any higher you would be working miracles. You have a bit of [bad] luck with Christopher Nkunku, I get it, he’s a top player. Cole Palmer has only just come in.
“But what is going on with the recruitment of these players? Why is Chelsea football club rebuilding? Why is Chelsea football club in a transition? This is one of the best. I mean I’ve been there.
“I’m proud to have been there. It’s one of the best locations to play football in the world. I remember being with players in the dressing room, world class, world class, world class. Buying from Barcelona, buying from Real Madrid, buying from Bayern Munich. It’s like, we’re buying from Brighton, potential players. And I get you need a part of that, but where is the top world class players?”