The Blues have made a big-money move for a player who is no longer first-choice at BVB but the American winger should be worth the investment
Paying £58 million (€64m/$73m) for a player who has made just one Bundesliga start over the past three months might seem like a remarkable decision, but that is exactly what Chelsea have done by splashing the cash on Borussia Dortmund attacker Christian Pulisic.
The 20-year-old had long been linked with a transfer to Stamford Bridge and BVB announced on Wednesday that he will join Chelsea at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, spending the remainder of this season on loan at the Bundesliga leaders as they challenge for both the German title and Champions League glory.
Initially, Dortmund demanded £70 million ($89m) for Pulisic, but Chelsea eventually successfully drove down the asking price, with the winger’s contract in Germany due to expire in June 2020.
On top of his contract situation, there is also the fact that the USMNT international is no longer a key protagonist in BVB’s renaissance, though, as Pulisic slipped down the pecking order due to the fantastic form of teenage sensation Jadon Sancho.
Pulisic had been struggling to get Bundesliga starts at Dortmund in recent months amid the ongoing uncertainty over his long-term future at the club and a move to Chelsea appears to make sense for everybody involved.
Certainly, with Eden Hazard once again flirting with a move to Real Madrid, and both Pedro and Willian now in their thirties, the Blues could do with adding an exciting young winger to their squad.
After all, this is a club that does not offer more than one-year extensions to players over 30 and then there’s the issue of Callum Hudson-Odoi appearing keen on a move to Bayern Munich.
Pulisic is not the only player Chelsea have considered signing to rejuvenate their ageing attack – Lyon attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir, Barcelona bad boy Ousmane Dembele and Everton’s versatile forward Richarlison have all been scouted – but the USMNT star was the most viable target.
As for Pulisic himself, he has always dreamed of a move to the Premier League.
Speaking ahead of his country’s November friendly against England at Wembley, he stated, “England and the Premier League, it is a league where lots of kids dream of playing, so there is no reason why maybe one day I won’t play here.”
Certainly, he should have little trouble settling in, particularly at Stamford Bridge.
As an attacker schooled at Signal Iduna Park – initially under Thomas Tuchel and now Lucien Favre – he should have little trouble understanding what Blues boss Maurizio Sarri demands from his wingers.
The Italian is a fan of small, skilful forwards who press the ball intelligently – Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne both excelled under Sarri’s guidance at Napoli – meaning he would fit seamlessly into the Chelsea line-up.
Sarri takes huge pride in his ability to improve his players and that should help this transfer work as Pulisic aims to make a name for himself in the Premier League next season.
Pulisic is still young but he will be charged with improving his end product, having only netted three times in 20 games for club and country this term.
His talent is there for all to see, though, and given his age, it’s easy to understand why both Sarri and Chelsea were keen on the American attacker and eventually opted to meet Dortmund’s demands.