Christian Pulisic aspiring to emulate Eden Hazard at Chelsea
USA international likens himself to Belgian after arriving at Stamford Bridge from Borussia Dortmund
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 22/05/19 5:09pm
Christian Pulisic believes he has all of the attributes to be as good as Chelsea's current talisman Eden Hazard one day.
USA international Pulisic, who signed for Chelsea for £57.6m in the January transfer window, completed his switch to Stamford Bridge following the conclusion of Borussia Dortmund's season.
With Hazard's future uncertain amid interest from Real Madrid, Pulisic has been viewed as a long-term replacement for the Belgian, and it's a role the 20-year-old feels he can fulfil with hard work.
Asked if he could be as good as Hazard, Pulisic told Sky Sports News in an exclusive interview: "Of course, I want to believe that I can be the best player I can possibly be.
"That's why I work so hard every day and why I thought it was necessary for me to take this next step in my career and to come here. I have so much more to learn as a player and am excited to see what the future holds.
"It's a great compliment [to be compared to Hazard], he's obviously much further along in his career than I am. He is an unbelievable player.
"I guess I have a similar style with an attacking and creative mindset like he does, he's very quick and shifty.
"There's a lot to learn from him. It would be a great goal to do what he does. Everyone can see he is an unbelievable player and I would be honoured to play alongside him.
"We will see what happens but, either way, I'm happy to be a Chelsea player."
Does Chelsea's transfer embargo affect Pulisic?
Christian Pulisic factfile
- Age: 20
- Former club: Borussia Dortmund
- Position: Forward
- Country: USA
Chelsea are currently awaiting their appeal against a two-window transfer ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after it was rejected by FIFA.
As it stands Chelsea can still buy players but are not be able to register them until the summer of 2020. So, how come they can they still sign Pulisic?
Because Chelsea completed the transfer for Pulisic in January - before their transfer ban was implemented. He was then loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018/19 season.
Is he Hazard's replacement?
With Hazard's move to Real Madrid seemingly imminent, there is a high chance of an opening in Chelsea's frontline for the USA international, who will be keen to lock down a starting spot and justify his £57.6m transfer fee.
The 20-year-old has played predominantly on the right flank last season, operating from there 17 times out of his 20 league appearances, but has also played on the left in his career (three times in 18/19).
A maturing Callum Hudson-Odoi is expected to play a greater role in Chelsea's campaign next season on the right while Pedro played entirely on the right-hand side last season, meaning the left wing is where the opening will likely be.
But if Hazard decides to stay then there could be an argument for the 21-year-old to play in the number 10 role.
People are going to say that. I want to go in and be as big a part of the team as I can. I’m going to work hard from day one and I am excited about that.
Christian Pulisic on possibly replacing Eden Hazard
"I'm definitely looking forward to being here," Pulisic told the club's official website. "I can't wait, it's going to be an amazing experience.
"A little change for me, but to be in England and be able to speak English... I'm thrilled. I've been waiting a long time for this. It has been one of my biggest dreams to be here and play in the Premier League. To be a Chelsea player is a huge honour and I'm obviously really excited."
"I've learnt so much as a player and as a person over there in Germany. It's definitely getting me ready for the big challenges to come.
"[The Chelsea fans] can expect a really good team guy who is going to give everything. He's going to bring his attacking style to the team and do whatever he can to help the team win games."
'Inspire a generation'
Pulisic will become the fifth American player currently in the Premier League when he makes his debut for Chelsea at the start of the 2019/20 campaign.
The playmaker has challenged himself to emulate the likes of former Fulham and Tottenham forward Clint Dempsey and inspire a generation of Americans to play football.
Asked whether he could be the most successful American in Premier League history, he replied: "Yes, why not? That's what I'm here to do.
"I want to come and do something that no American has ever done. If I can inspire one American kid to want to play in the Premier League and they come and do it one day I'll be happy. That is a big goal of mine."
Will he succeed in England?
USA team-mate Weston McKennie: "Christian is the type of player who likes a challenge and likes to experience new things as well, I think he'll be a great signing for Chelsea.
"He may not get it right away, he may get in and play you never know, but I think he'll be helpful for them in any way that they use him. I'm excited for him and I know he's excited to start that next chapter of his career and make an even bigger name for himself."
German football journalist Raphael Honigstein: "He's a real talent and especially if you consider the marketing value as the No 1 American football player of his generation," he told the Transfer Talk podcast. "It's not a deal that feels expensive.
"This is a player that a lot of Premier League clubs were interested in, he brings tremendous value when it comes to gaining followers and attention in America, which is a key market for many Premier League clubs for obvious reasons."
Christian's dad Mark Pulisic: "The Premier League is a league where he's always aspired to be in and play in," he told Sky Sports last summer.
"As a player nowadays, there are so few players staying at one club throughout a career, the chances of him moving to different clubs and leagues is a high probability."
US football expert Joe Prince-Wright: "He has the pace to cope with the Premier League, no doubt, but I have spoken to Christian over the past few years and he told me he wants to improve his strength, being more clinical and his total of goals and assists. Those are the main areas where he can improve, no doubt.
"I do have a few reservations if he is ready for the physicality of the Premier League right now, but he has been kicked all over the place by teams in Central America and the Caribbean and handled that well on the international stage."
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