How good is Christian Pulisic? What role will he play? How did the move go down across the Atlantic?
On Wednesday Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund confirmed they had agreed a £57.6m deal for Christian Pulisic, which will see the 20-year-old remain at the Bundesliga side on loan until the end of the season.
The United States international becomes the second most expensive outfield player in Chelsea’s history, after Alvaro Morata. A number of English clubs, including Liverpool and Arsenal, were previously linked with Pulisic, who has found his first-team opportunities limited this season by the emergence of England international Jadon Sancho.
Chelsea have spent £58m on Pulisic – but just how good is he and how much potential does he have?
He has everything you need to succeed in the modern game. Pace, trickery, wonderful vision and he has come up with big goals and assists for club and country. There is no doubt he is the most gifted player to ever be produced in the US and has always had an innate ability to take players on, score amazing goals and do things other kids couldn’t do growing up.
However, he couples that with an incredible work ethic. Jurgen Klinsmann, who gave Pulisic his international debut at the age of 17, described his potential as “limitless” and it is hard to disagree. At the age of 20 he already has several seasons in the Bundesliga, Champions League and international competition under his belt. If he continues on this upwards trajectory, Chelsea have got themselves one of the best young talents in the world of soccer. He has all of the tools to flourish at the top level and I don’t think he is anywhere near the finished product.
What role will he play at Chelsea? What positions did he take up at Dortmund?
Growing up, Pulisic’s favourite player was Luis Figo and that is still the nickname his father uses for him. That gives you an idea of what type of player he is. He can play on either flank, but playing just off the left is his main position at Dortmund, even though playing as a true No. 10 may be his best role.
Yes, this description is all starting to sound like Eden Hazard II… But, like Hazard, the main strength of Pulisic is running at pace with the ball and twisting and turning defenders inside out. He can go either way, is two-footed, and makes really good decisions in the final third when it comes to picking out passes and creating chances. Pulisic has completed more dribbles than any other player in the Bundesliga since his debut in 2016 and created 71 chances in 81 league games. He isn’t shy in digging deep and defending either, and he tracks back and also presses defenders high when they have the ball.
Of course, when an American soccer player transfers to any big team in Europe, millions of fans change the team that they support. In this case, Chelsea is going to gain millions of fans across the United States, and whenever they play games in the US, it will be completely sold out. Along with the rise of popularity for Chelsea across the US after the transfer, Pulisic’s transfer to Chelsea blazes the way for Americans playing in England. Many young Americans are currently playing in Europe, but only a few are playing in England. Christian Pulisic is a leader and role model for these other young players, so more Americans transfering to England should be expected in the years to come. Lastly, even though he has not gotten as much playing time as he probably would like, Pulisic will most likely become a regular at Chelsea. With Eden Hazard almost guaranteed leave in the summer, and the old age of Willian and Pedro, Pulisic should expect to be on the field for many more minutes than at Dortmund. This transfer is great for both the fans of US soccer and English soccer, and the player himself, Cristian Pulisic.