In hindsight, Chelsea’s decision to keep their powder dry in the January transfer window was probably a wise one when you consider their season so far.
Although Thomas Tuchel has done a sterling job since he arrived in the capital, the title bid that the Blues were expected to launch this season has unexpectedly fizzled out in the early knockings of the New Year.
And ironically after spending a club-record £97.5million on an elite striker in the summer, it’s a lack of goals that have prevented Chelsea from following up their Champions League triumph with a domestic crown.
Even when the Blues were firing earlier in the campaign, more often than not, it was actually Chelsea’s defensive players who were providing the ammunition.
Once again, Jorginho currently tops Chelsea’s scoring charts – just as he did last season. That’s a pretty damning indicement on the current state of Chelsea’s expensively-assembled roster of attacking talent.
But of them all, Christian Pulisic is perhaps the most intriguing case of all after he netted and impressed in the United States national team’s 3-0 win over Honduras in Wednesday night’s World Cup qualifier.
The £60million man has struggled for form over the past 18 months in the Premier League but continues to impress on the international stage for his country.
That’s all well and good, but domestically, Pulisic is fast approaching a crossroads in his career.
With Tuchel reportedly set to embark on a major attacking overhaul in the summer, it’s not unrealistic to peg Pulisic as one of the potential casulties.
The 23-year-old has been used sparingly this term and has racked up the least minutes of any Blues attacker, netting just three league goals.
All of a sudden, Pulisic, who was one of Chelsea’s brightest stars during his maiden year in SW6, is on the brink of becoming the odd man out in west London.
He’s hardly put forward a compelling case to change that during his limited time on the pitch, either. But there are mitigating circumstances.
Pulisic has been wasted in an unorthodox right wing-back role, and even when he has been utilised in attack, he’s been denied the opportunity to play in his favoured spot on the left flank.
His impressive display for America on Wednesday night may go some way to convincing Tuchel to give him another crack at nailing down that spot, but he won’t be able to dine out on his international success in the long-term.
Fortunately for the ex-Borussia Dortmund ace, nobody else has really managed to stake a consistent claim for a place in Tuchel’s attack either.
Mason Mount has undoubtedly been Chelsea’s standout performer this term, but the rest of Chelsea’s attacking players, including club-record signing Romelu Lukaku, have been frustratingly inconsistent.
If Pulisic can replicate his American heroics in London over the second half of the season, then there’s every chance that he can still salvage his Blues career and muscle his way to the front of a group riddled with inconsistency.
But with Hakim Ziyech starting to find form, time is running out for Pulisic to remind Tuchel of his attacking capabilities – especially if there is truth behind reports that claim the German is keen on reuniting with Barcelona outcast Ousmane Dembele.