With Hazard's departure looming, attention turns to Christian Pulisic

A new era looks set to begin at the Bridge

Chelsea rounded off their season with a superb 4-1 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday night, ensuring they picked up yet more silverware. Baku was the host for the controversial 2019 Europa League Final and despite the game being surrounded by negative headlines, it ended up being a night to remember for the Blues and Eden Hazard in particular.

The brilliant Belgian is entering the final 12 months of his contract at Stamford Bridge and since the season kicked off back in August, he's been strongly linked with a move to La Liga giants Real Madrid. As the campaign has progressed this transfer has looked increasingly likely and after bagging a brace in Baku, he effectively confirmed that the final would be his last outing in a Chelsea shirt.

This ends 7 years of fantastic service to the West Londoners, with Hazard growing into a Premier League great during his stay. His impending departure doesn't come as a massive surprise to everyone in the football world, especially Chelsea who've been planning for the possibility of his departure for some time now.

Chelsea Europa League
Chelsea rounded off a solid first season under Maurizio Sarri with the Europa League title, defeating Arsenal 4-1 in Baku on Wednesday night

Maurizio Sarri's men have been given a transfer ban for the next two windows which led to them making moves back in January, identifying Borussia Dortmund prodigy Christian Pulisic as someone to potentially fill the massive void left by Hazard's impending departure.

The American is only 20 years of age and he has enormous pressure on his shoulders to deliver almost instantly, such are the demands at a club as big as Chelsea. He officially arrives as a Blues player this summer and he will itching to show what he can do in the Premier League - the best league in the world. But is he capable of taking is game to the next level at the Bridge?

Huge boots to fill

Moving to a new club or country is always a difficult task and it can often take players months or even seasons to fully adjust to their new surroundings. But when it comes to elite clubs such as Chelsea, these bedding in periods need to be minimal.

The Blues are a club that are used to delivering success and aren't afraid to spend big sums on new arrivals, so the expectation is naturally very high. So imagine if you're Christian Pulisic. 20 years-old, moving to the Premier League for the first time having cost £58m. Pretty daunting stuff. And that's before the man you're potentially replacing even comes into question.

In taking over from Eden Hazard he's having to fill the boots of one of the Premier League's greatest ever players. The Belgian goals, assists, moments of magic and silverware in a magnificent 7 year spell and now the onus is on Pulisic to do the same.

He doesn't arrive in West London to the same fanfare in which Hazard did when he joined from Lille back in 2012, but followers of the Bundesliga will know that Chelsea do have a pretty special player on their books.

He's exactly the kind of footballer that fans pay their money to watch. He's quick, direct, technically gifted and not afraid to try beat a man. He'll add some much needed youthful exuberance to this Chelsea side and he has the potential to go as far as he wants in the game.

He's similar to Hazard in a lot of aspects but he's also unique in his own way. He's naturally a winger but he has excelled for both club & country when playing as a no.10, that tactical versatility will come in handy at Stamford Bridge under Maurizio Sarri - or whoever is in charge when he finally arrives.

Arrives in London with a bit of a point to prove

Many may be unfamiliar with Pulisic and it's understandable, with him finding opportunities in the Dortmund first team limited this season. The return from injury of club captain Marco Reus coupled with the emergence of Jadon Sancho has meant that he's struggled for regular starts in the Bundesliga, which also isn't helped by his impending departure and niggling injury problems.

He's made a total of 30 appearances for Dortmund this season across all competitions, just 17 of which have been starts. But despite this he has managed to record a solid goal contribution of 11 (7G 4A) which is decent, although it's some way off Hazard's superb total of 36 (19G 17A).

He clearly has a bit of catching up to do on that front but if the Chelsea fans are patient with him there's no reason why he can't go on and hit those numbers eventually. Hazard's first season saw him net 13 times in 62 appearances so Pulisic's strike rate is currently at a decent level, but adjusting to the Premier League is no easy task as he will soon find out.

His drop in minutes this season is bound to hurt him and he'll feel that he has something of a point to prove to his former club which he'll need to use as motivation as he'll have fierce competition for a spot on either wing at Stamford Bridge.

He'll be fighting for a starting berth alongside experienced campaigners Pedro and Willian, along with the supremely talented Callum Hudson-Odoi who's going to be absent for the opening of the campaign through injury.

The unavailability of CHO could give Pulisic an early opportunity to stamp down his authority at Chelsea and if he can make a fast start to life at his new home, the sky is certainly the limit for him.

Attempting to fill the boots of a player like Hazard is one of (if not the) biggest challenges he will face in his career and we're certainly intrigued to see how things work out for him in London as both him and Chelsea enter a new era..


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