Christian Pulisic, the Hershey, Pennsylvania native, who turned 19 in September, is being courted by the biggest clubs in the world as recent reports from England suggest that Liverpool and Manchester United will enter a bidding war for the young American.
It’s an indication of how real Christian Pulisic is. An attacking midfielder who plays on the wing for Peter Stoger’s Dortmund side, Pulisic has impressed in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season, starting virtually every game.
Liverpool’s interest in Pulisic had been widely reported, a move that makes obvious sense. Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp previously managed at Dortmund and will know Pulisic from his time at the German club. But now Manchester United, arguably the biggest club in world soccer history, are also intent on bringing in the American.
A particularly interesting factor in any potential transfer for Pulisic is his marketability. He’s a great soccer player, but the financial opportunity of bringing Pulisic, who is already the greatest American soccer player ever in terms of skill, provides teams like Manchester United a vast economic incentive to spend what will end up being a fee of around $100 million for Pulisic’s talents.
Miguel Delaney, chief football writer at The Independent, wrote about the economic side of a Pulisic transfer:
“While the 19-year-old attacker is obviously seen as an excellent football signing in his own right and fill a hole for Jose Mourinho’s side, an extra angle is the view that talent could well make him the USA’s first megastar in the sport, with all of the commercial value that will bring. United’s marketing side would see him as another Paul Pogba in that regard, as do many other suitors.”
It makes sense for clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool, both of which have American ownership, to look to Pulisic to increase their bottomline, but at the end of the day, it’s his immense skill and potential that has him in this position.
He’s also ridiculously grounded for someone that has been hoisted up, not just by the American press, but also in Europe. In September, the French publication L’Equipe named Pulisic the 11th best under-21 player in the world. That ranking came before this season, in which Pulisic has truly shone for Dortmund.
German soccer writer Raphael Honigstein sat down with Christian Pulisic over the German league’s winter break to talk about a move to a bigger club and his future, but Pulisic was quick to say that he’s happy in Dortmund for the time being:
“‘Of course I always dream big, but I don’t put a plan out for myself,’ he says, deflecting talk of a move. ‘I try to focus on the next week and the next game every time, focus on what I’m doing right now and just to continue to improve every single day. If I do that, I should have a good future.'”
He also told Honigstein that being touted as the Great American Hope is flattering, but he conceded that sometimes it adds an unneeded pressure for the 19-year-old:
“I would say that the expectations some Americans put on me is too much. But I don’t take it that way. I know no one means harm to me or wants to put too much pressure on me. It’s kind of what they’ve done or do in the past. A lot of countries do.”
Indeed, Pulisic is the biggest American prospect in the history of US Soccer. It’s a burden that he seems ready to handle. As huge clubs circle around the winger, looking to pounce on his talents, and profit off his marketability, his level-headed and process-oriented approach will lead him in the right direction.
There should be no rush to take his game to England or Spain, he’s in a good place for his development in Dortmund. But that move will come, most likely this summer. A battle between Liverpool, Manchester United, and inevitably other big clubs in Europe, could be one of the biggest sagas in the soccer world this summer.