Following the USMNT’s run to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup, the names Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah are circulating through the transfer rumor mill as European leagues prepare to resume play in two weeks’ time.
The three young Americans found themselves in interesting club situations ahead of the tournament in Qatar, and strong showings from each has only served to re-ignite interest from major clubs all across Europe.
The upcoming January transfer window is shaping up to be a hugely active period of players signings and sales, as it tends to be immediately following a World Cup. Only this time, it’s happening in the middle of the season, and it could prove the right time for USMNT faces to land in new places.
Pulisic has grown more and more frustrated over his lack of player time at Chelsea, first under Thomas Tuchel and then under Graham Potter; McKennie is always linked with moves away from Juventus, a club well known for its frequent wheelings and dealings; and Musah finds himself in his third season as a regular starter, at the age of 19 (he turned 20 during the World Cup), for Valencia, a club still digging its way out of crippling debt.
Newcastle still interested in Christian Pulisic
Newcastle’s interest in Pulisic dates back to summer and fall earlier this year, when the Magpies acquired four new starters for a combined $151 million. At the time, Chelsea preferred to hold onto the USMNT star not only for depth purposes, but also (perhaps) because they believed a strong showing at the World Cup would boost his transfer value come January.
With just 18 months left on his current contract, Pulisic can reportedly be had for $49 million, though Newcastle will surely try to negotiate that number down. According to various reports out of the UK, the Magpies’ interest in Pulisic remains strong as they are expected to make a bid in the coming days or weeks.
Pulisic, 24, has started just three of 14 Premier League games for Chelsea this season (once in the Champions League), though he has come off the bench on 10 more occasions (three in UCL).
Chelsea, Tottenham back in for Weston McKennie
Chelsea and Tottenham have long been linked McKennie, even before he moved to Juventus in the summer of 2020, and both clubs have needs in central midfield.
McKennie would be a good fit at Chelsea, where Potter often makes noticeable tactical changes from one game to the next based on opponent, demanding a high soccer I.Q. and loads of positional versatility. Potter’s system is all about movement — the ball and the people — requiring players to operate on all three levels of midfield in various setups. Two and a half years in the very tactical Serie A would likely accelerate this USMNT star’s learning curve relative to other options abroad.
Meanwhile, Tottenham can always use a midfielder who likes to push forward into the final third and add a few goals from someone other than Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski. Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have chipped in four and three goals, respectively, for Antonio Conte’s side. Yves Bissouma was signed from Brighton for $30 million this summer, and though he has started just six of 15 PL games, his minutes saw a significant upswing before the World Cup break (four starts in the final month).
Arsenal a logical landing spot for Yunus Musah
There were reports out of the UK that Arsenal recently had a bid for Musah rejected, as they reportedly try to bring back a player who left the club’s academy at the age of 16 in 2019.
Musah’s contract at Valencia contains a $105-million release clause, though the club’s ongoing financial woes could see them settle for a far more reasonable fee somewhere in the ballpark of $25 million. At that price, there’s not a Premier League side that shouldn’t be submitting their formal bid right this moment.
Musah has more raw talent than any midfield (and maybe player) to ever grace the USMNT player pool. From a national team perspective, letting him continue his development at a club that churns out brilliant attacking midfielders would be a welcome development.