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Brad Friedel Urges Christian Pulisic And Matt Turner To Seek Moves Away From Chelsea, Arsenal If They Don't Get Playing Time
The former USMNT goalkeeper says the American stars aren’t receiving enough match time at Chelsea and Arsenal this year.
Having enjoyed a long, successful career as a keeper in the English Premier League and now serving as the manager of the New England Revolution in the MLS, Brad Friedel has been a potent voice within American soccer for decades, and now the man who represented the USA in three FIFA World Cups and played in 84 games for the United States national team is using his platform for another purpose: warning USMNT stars Christian Pulisic and Matt Turner that they should seek moves away from their Premier League clubs.
In an interview with Sporting Post, Friedel revealed that he believes both stars deserve more playing time and should seek out new opportunities elsewhere.
“It goes back to having too many players at Chelsea,” noted Friedel of Pulisic. “Look at who he is up against. I’m not one of those people who says someone should leave if they’re not playing because I believe you need to fight for your place and prove your worth, but if there aren’t going to be opportunities, Christian is one of the most important players for the USMT, so we’re going to want him to be playing consistently.”
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Pulisic, who has one year remaining on his contract, transferred to Chelsea in 2019 from Borussia Dortmund for a hefty $73 million fee. Though he’s shown to be a skillful asset in many a fixture, his time at Stamford Bridge has largely been marked by a wave of injuries. Currently sidelined from play yet again, Captain America, as the 24-year-old native is affectionately called, has notched 26 goals in 136 games for the Blues, but since the team brought in Raheem Sterling, Noni Madueke, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Joao Felix during the past two transfer windows, Pulisic will face an uphill battle to reclaim a starting position once he returns to fitness.
"It’s going to be one of those summers where either [Pulisic] is told he is in Chelsea’s plans, and they offer him a new deal, or he gets sold,” Friedel explained. "Looking at things, I’m thinking it’s probably the latter, and we’ll see him somewhere else which could be good for him to play consistently."
Though his lack of playing time doesn’t originate from extensive injuries, the situation for Turner mirrors Pulisic’s in that the 28-year-old shot blocker has only made six appearances throughout all competitions for Arsenal since joining them from the New England Revolution last year. Turner was a beacon of hope for the Americans in Qatar, but England’s Aaron Ramsdale has cemented himself as Arsenal’s starter between the posts.
Friedel’s reasoning for why both young stars should leave their squads stems from his own personal experience with Liverpool in the English Premier League. One’s career must come first.
"When I wasn’t playing consistently when I was at Liverpool, I had to get out,” Friedel divulged. “Even though I loved the club, and it was the team I supported, I had to leave for my career. You have such a short career as a professional footballer, and you need to play as many games as possible inside that time.”
"I think that Matt, no matter what, even though Arsenal are an incredible club, has to find consistent football somewhere,” he added. “This season, fine, but if he’s not going to be the number one, he has got to go."
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