Christian Pulisic went to Qatar hoping to establish Gregg Berhalter’s young USMNT team as a rising force before the 2026 World Cup on home turf. But there was also personal motivation: reminding the rest of football — and perhaps even himself — of his rare talent.

There have been too few opportunities to do that at Chelsea this season. According to FBref, Pulisic ranks 16th among outfielders in Graham Potter’s squad for minutes played across all competitions. His 616 minutes have included just five starts, with 13 of his 18 appearances coming from the substitutes’ bench.

It’s no surprise, then, that Pulisic is being widely linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window. Manchester United have been credibly cited as suitors, and Premier League leaders Arsenal have also been mentioned.

Newcastle United’s interest has substance — Pulisic was one of several players who came up in conversation between Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali when they watched a Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur together in an executive box at Stamford Bridge in August.

But at that time, Newcastle were only looking for a potential season-long loan, and there are also suggestions that any Manchester United approach in January would only be for a temporary deal.

That is a non-starter from a Chelsea perspective now, just as it was last summer. Pulisic is a high-level winger who, despite not consistently playing up to his £58million ($70m) transfer fee since arriving at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2019, has legitimate value to Potter as a squad option. There is no reason to let him go for anything less than an amount that makes business sense — particularly to a rival in the Premier League’s top-four race.

Even for Pulisic himself, a loan move holds less appeal now than it did in August when the player and his representatives did all they could to try to convince Todd Boehly and Eghbali to sanction his departure. The concern then was that Thomas Tuchel would not pick him enough to put him in a position to head to this winter’s World Cup in peak form and fitness. That short-term consideration no longer exists.

It’s important to stress that Pulisic is happy at Chelsea. He has never had an issue with the club or the supporters, despite receiving online abuse during the more difficult moments of his career at Stamford Bridge. He likes London and has plenty of friends within the squad, frequently socialising with several of his team-mates.