Chelsea‘s only permanent signing in the transfer window was Christian Pulisic for £58 million. The 20-year-old will leave Borussia Dortmund in the summer before arriving with his new team for next season. Both Willian and Pedro are over the age of 30, making the imminent arrival of the American a youthful investment. Pulisic’s signing shows the Board’s clear backing of Sarri and his plans for the future. But is the USA international worth the investment Chelsea have paid? Analysing his stats and the impact he will have on the squad will answer this question
Stat comparison of Pulisic and Willian
Pulisic could be competing against Willian for a starting role next season. How do their stats compare from this season?
UnderStat provides the statistics for the Pulisic/Willian comparison. His expected goals per 90 minutes is 0.14 so far this season. Willian has an average of 0.20 goals per 90-minutes, beating the young American. This trend is present when comparing expected assists per 90 minutes, with Pulisic’s 0.16 being edged by his rivals 0.28. These stats show that Willian has better output than the American.
However, when looking at the same statistics for open play, the trend reverses. Pulisic betters Willian his output from open play, with 0.21 expected goals and assists per 90 minutes. This shows that without Willian’s set-piece duties, he is inferior to the 20-year-old.
In terms of build-up play, Willian shows his international experience through his stats this season. The Brazilian has 2.64 expected key passes per 90-minutes which defeats the 1.34 of Pulisic. Therefore, despite the American’s superior end product, Willian is statistically more impactful on the game.
It must be taken into account that Pulisic only has 4712 minutes of game time this season. Willian has 10134 minutes which shows his greater experience compared to the American. This means that Pulisic’s stats come from a small pool of data.
Overall, it is clear that Pulisic is almost even in comparison to Willian. Considering that the Brazilian has a decade more experience, it is likely that he will be out-grown in the next few years. Chelsea should be patient when waiting for Pulisic to return the investment through his output.
The impact on Hudson-Odoi
The arrival of Pulisic could have implications on the future of Hudson-Odoi, who wants out of Chelsea. The Bayern Munich saga has lit a fire under the player and the club, as Chelsea attempt to keep the winger happy. But what impact does the signing of Pulisic have on the English prospect?
One factor that will influence the Hudson-Odoi situation is game time. If the teenager stays after the summer window, then Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi will be competing for game time. Although the talents prefer opposite wings to each other, they will both rotate in a Sarri system.
They share the strengths of being great dribblers and ball carriers, both assisting from the right on their strong right feet. Furthermore, the American and Hudson-Odoi share significant pace, making them very similar in many aspects. This can limit their game time due them filling the same role for the team.
However, the English winger’s ability to cut inside is beneficial to both players. Pulisic is better at directly dribbling towards the byline, whilst the 18-year-old prefers to cut inside with pace. This is beneficial for both players chances of game time, meaning that Pulisic’s signing doesn’t limit Hudson-Odoi and makes the signing more value for money.
The only players who cost more for Chelsea than the 20-year-old are Morata and Kepa. Since the Neymar transfer, the inflation in the transfer market has increased significantly. But is £58 million a value for money investment?
Eden Hazard cost £32 million. Willian cost £30 million. Pulisic clearly cost Chelsea significantly more than other marquee wingers. Although this may suggest that the fee is too much, the inflation of the market proves this isn’t the case. Therefore, the £58 million appears to be roughly around the same cost to Chelsea as Willian once was.
Being the crown in the jewel of the American market, Pulisic brings great marketing power to West London. Imagine the branding Nike can do in cooperation with Chelsea around the young American. A future stronghold and potential monopoly of the American fan base and markets can help to return the large investment made by Chelsea. Therefore, Pulisic can bring significant future income for Chelsea.
In conclusion, this transfer is an expensive signing for Chelsea. But the positives of the move outweigh the negatives. The qualities Pulisic brings to an ageing wing-roster as well as the potential investment return. As long as the American gradually continues to improve and Hudson-Odoi is kept happy then Pulisic is worth the investment for Chelsea.