​When Chelsea announced a £58m deal to sign Christian Pulisic back in January, fans were divided. 


The 20-year-old has largely been tasked with replacing Eden Hazard, yet he couldn't even hold down a permanent spot at Borussia Dortmund last season. His potential has always been clear, but was he ready to help out at the highest level immediately? Many weren't sure.

Christian Pulisic,Oriol Busquets

However, it may only be pre-season, but Pulisic has certainly given ​Chelsea fans plenty to get excited about.


He was as underwhelming as any of his teammates in the 1-0 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale, but he turned on the style against ​Barcelona


From the get-go, Pulisic wanted the ball. Whether it be on the left wing or anywhere else on the pitch, the American was desperate to showcase his skills and drive Chelsea forward. His pace and dribbling were on show, but there was real substance to what he was doing.

There was no dribbling for dribbling's sake. Instead, everything he did was with the goal of getting Chelsea into the opposition's penalty area. His trickery caused countless problems for Barcelona and, had his finishing been better, he would have almost certainly had a goal to show for his efforts.


He proved his footballing ability, but it was his performance against ​Reading which saw Pulisic display his intelligence. The level of opposition is irrelevant, because all we needed to see was his vision.


With ​Olivier Giroud dropping deep, space was opened up for Pulisic to run in behind, and you could see how much he wanted to do so. During his 45 minutes of action, the 20-year-old could be seen timing a number of runs to perfection, but he was simply let down by his teammates.

Christian Pulisic

Neither Fikayo Tomori nor Andreas Christensen managed to pick him out. Perhaps they don't have the passing range of ​David Luiz, or maybe they just didn't see him, but it was clear that he wanted to offer Chelsea the one thing they were lacking last season - movement.


Further forward, Tiemoue Bakayoko was guilty of dismissing passes which perhaps ​Mateo Kovacic or Jorginho would have attempted. If Pulisic was playing in the Chelsea squad from last season, he would have profited time and time again.


If you're in any doubt, Chelsea's second-half performance was proof, even though Pulisic wasn't on the field. In his place, it was ​Pedro or Mason Mount who benefited from the creativity of Luiz, Jorginho and Kovacic, all of whom played the kind of passes which Pulisic was crying out for earlier on.

Fortunately, next season he will likely be playing alongside all of Chelsea's finest creators, who will be competent and confident enough to give Pulisic what he needs.


Is Pulisic the finished product? No, absolutely not. However, his raw footballing ability is clear, and so is his intelligence. He is a naturally gifted player, and he is surrounded by the kind of players who will only improve him. For Pulisic, the future looks incredibly bright.