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Report: Christian Pulisic set to leave Chelsea this summer; Manchester United interested

Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards sift through transfer rumors surrounding some key USMNT players, including a report linking Christian Pulisic to AC Milan.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic will leave Chelsea this summer, according to a recent report from ESPN, and more reports are starting to emerge.

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A new report from Football.London states that Manchester United -- the Red Devils enquired about Pulisic in January -- are interested in Pulisic once again and could move for him this summer when he will be available for a bit of a bargain.

The latest report also suggests a return to Borussia Dortmund and even a move to MLS (LAFC, Atlanta United and Inter Miami are named) is a possibility, as they say Pulisic’s future ‘hangs in the balance’ and a ‘Chelsea exit is likely’ this summer.

After missing the last few months with injury, Pulisic is back fit for Chelsea for their huge UEFA Champions League 16 clash against Dortmund.

Pulisic, 24, will have just one year remaining on his Chelsea contract at the end of the 2022-23 season and per the reports, the American winger will lead a ‘summer transfer exodus’ at Chelsea.

With 18 players arriving at Chelsea over the last two transfer windows under the new American ownership led by Todd Boehly, a huge number of players will have to leave to make that sustainable.

It is reported that Hakim Ziyech, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kalidou Koulibaly, Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic could also leave, while contract talks continue with Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante but they could also depart.

Per both reports, there are no plans for Chelsea to offer Pulisic a new contract and the USMNT winger was keen on a move in January (Newcastle were also reportedly interested) before he suffered a knee injury which will keep him out until March.

Why is this the end for him at Chelsea?

If he is to leave, he has to go somewhere he is going to play regularly. Pulisic has never been able to hold down a sustained starting spot at Chelsea despite some impressive spells.

Injuries have been a key reason why he has never flourished at Chelsea but three managers over the last four years hasn’t helped his case either.

The USMNT winger can do it at the Premier League and Champions League level and his time at Chelsea hasn’t been a failure, at all. But it hasn’t been what anyone hoped it would be. Pulisic has not become the superstar he was expected to become.

Where next for Pulisic?

Now he needs to find a club where he will be the superstar and the star man, instead of being at a club where he is one of many superstars.

That is a hard jump to make after being at Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea during his career to date.

If Manchester United come in for him, should he move there? Probably not. He has to go somewhere he knows he is going to play week in, week out and be the man.

Whether that is a team battling for a top six finish in the Premier League or a team in Italy, Germany or Spain who are challenging for the title and trophies, he has to take the next step in his career and be the talisman at his next club.

Dortmund is an intriguing option given how much he enjoyed playing in Germany and the fact that Marco Reus is out of contract this summer means they will need a replacement attacker. Right now, the MLS option doesn’t seem likely for Pulisic but he has always talked about wanting to go back to the USA and you can see it happening after the next World Cup in 2026.

It was always risky to join Chelsea when he did but he won the Champions League and has played a key role in stretches throughout his time in west London. It didn’t quite work out and that’s okay. He’s not even close to his prime.

However, this next move has to be the right one and has to work out if he’s truly going to become the superstar every USMNT fan hopes he can be. He can be that star but know it is all about about putting himself in the best possible position to succeed.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports