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USMNT star Pulisic backed to bring Zola-esque X-factor to Chelsea

4:57 AM EDT 9/12/19
Christian Pulisic Chelsea 2019-20
Former Blues midfielder Quique de Lucas admits Frank Lampard needs to find inspiration, with it possible that the summer signing could provide it

Christian Pulisic is capable of offering the Gianfranco Zola-esque “X-factor” that Chelsea are crying out for, says Quique de Lucas.

With Eden Hazard having departed the club for Real Madrid, those at Stamford Bridge are in need of a new talisman.

A two-window transfer ban has prevented them from splashing out on a selection of potential replacements for a Belgium international.

They were, however, able to put a deal in place with Borussia Dortmund for Pulisic back in January and welcomed the United States international to west London over the summer.

The highly-rated playmaker is still a rough diamond at just 20 years of age, but is considered to boast the potential that could make him a key man for Frank Lampard’s new-look Blues.

De Lucas, who spent a year with Chelsea in 2002-03, told The Athletic: “They don’t have that star figure we had on the pitch in Zola.

“That is worrying. They need to find it. Chelsea need to find that X-factor. Maybe it will be Christian Pulisic.

“It’s difficult. No-one has that experience.

“For me, the one that can make the difference, albeit in a different way, has to be Frank. The fact he was part of the 2002-03 side who did it having only signed myself has to help him. He knows the club, what it means to play for the Chelsea shirt.

“The young players have to learn that when you put the Chelsea top on. Everyone is going to try to beat you. You have to be right at the top to win games.”

Lampard is still finding his feet in management, with only a season of coaching experience at Championship side Derby under his belt, but De Lucas believes he boasts all of the qualities and support to be a success in familiar surroundings.

The Spaniard added on the Blues legend: “You could tell Frank would be a coach and Jody [Morris] would be his No. 2.

“They were always together, on and off the pitch. John Terry, too. There was a chemistry between them and you can see it now that they have the job at Chelsea. It was just a matter of time.

“Frank didn’t have the aura as a player he would go on to have. He would struggle sometimes to understand how [Claudio] Ranieri wanted him to play.

“Sometimes, he would be picked in different positions, like on the right of midfield. He wasn’t the fastest or the kind of player to dribble past two or three people, so it didn’t suit him.”