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Report: Chelsea pursuing Ousmane Dembele deal; bad news for Pulisic, USMNT?

Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards diagnose every Big Six team's biggest need during the January transfer window.

Chelsea have reportedly made another inquiry in hopes of signing winger Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona on transfer deadline day, putting the future of USMNT star Christian Pulisic in deeper doubt.

[ MORE: Aubameyang set to join Barcelona in shock move ]

As recently as Sunday evening, Dembele was widely expected to sign for Paris Saint-Germain, where he would once again link up with Lionel Messi and play alongside Neymar, who he replaced at Barcelona when he left for PSG in the summer of 2017. That deal, though, has since fallen apart and Chelsea have spotted an opportunity to sign a once-highly coveted player for a fraction of what they believe he’s worth.

Dembele’s nearly $300,000-per-week wage is said to be a significant and challenging hurdle the two sides must clear to complete a deal in the coming hours. Barcelona and Ousmane Dembele were recently unable to agree on a pay cut to assist the club in its ongoing financial troubles. Barcelona’s response was that Dembele should look for a new club.

If a deal cannot be agreed for an immediate transfer before the deadline on Monday, Chelsea will reportedly offer Dembele a pre-contract agreement ahead of the summer transfer window, when his Barcelona contract expires.

[ MORE: Tottenham sign Bentancur, Kulusevski from Juventus ]

Barcelona preside Joan Laporta said on Monday, “Different solutions have been proposed and the last one depends on the player accepting it, so that he can go to an English club.”

Ousmane Dembele to Chelsea a worry for Christian Pulisic, USMNT?

Perhaps it’s purely coincidental due to the fact that the transfer deadline was only days away when Christian Pulisic began this week to agitate for a move away from Chelsea, but Chelsea moving to sign yet another direct competitor for playing time on the wings is rather peculiar.

It’s most problematic for Pulisic and the USMNT if a deal is completed on Monday, likely pushing the 23-year-old American further down the depth chart of Thomas Tuchel. The next six months could see Pulisic play only sparingly for his club ahead of the final window of 2022 World Cup qualifying in March and the tournament itself, should they qualify, in Qatar in November.

Even a pre-contract agreement between Ousmane Dembele and Chelsea would likely signal the end of Pulisic’s stay in west London when summer arrives.

Follow @AndyEdMLS