02 Aug Christian Pulisic could be a transfer story to watch before the deadline
Despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus from Real Madrid, the summer transfer window of 2018 has been a relatively quiet one for almost all clubs involved. Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have all been relatively quiet, while Real Madrid themselves haven’t yet moved to replace the Portuguese forward.
Almost all of these teams have serious areas of concern ahead of the start of the 2018/19 season. Premier League clubs are battling against the clock courtesy of the sensationally stupid decision to close their transfer window on the eve of the Premier League season while the rest of Europe has yet to follow suit.
Jose Mourinho desperately needs defensive additions at each fullback position while Mauricio Pochettino would like a world class central midfielder to replace the ageing Mousa Dembele. Harry Kane is also still relied upon as the club’s primary source of goals, and a rotational centre-forward would bolster the squad.
There is also the small matter of the need for natural wingers at a lot of clubs this summer, a role which has become less and less prominent in the era of the inside forward. It tells a real story that both Barcelona and Real Madrid have made offers upwards of £55 million for Willian and the Blues have still deemed them lower than the value of the player.
Manchester United have also been associated with the Brazilian winger but Chief Executive, Ed Woodward, is not willing to part with such a large sum for a player who will turn 30 before the club’s opening fixture with Leicester City on August 10th.
With the market for wingers closing in depth and rising in price there is one player who could well become a story in the remaining days of the transfer period, and that’s Christian Pulisic of Borussia Dortmund.
The United States international has exploded onto the scene in the Bundesliga, despite being just 19-years-old, and his natural ability truly shines when positioned on the right wing.
His explosive pace and splendid technical ability make him a tricky prospect for defenders, and he is arguably the first American export who indeed has the talent to reach the very top. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are one of the few Americans who has made an impact on European football, but neither were as talented as Pulisic.
In the Hershey born attacker, America has a player who could develop into a real star of the world game. The marketability of Pulisic is a mouth-watering prospect for many clubs, notably the Glazer-owned Manchester United. America is one of the largest sporting markets in the world, if not the biggest, and him playing for the Old Trafford club would vastly heighten his profile.
Chelsea and Liverpool are also acutely aware of this and getting in early could well be one of the aims of each of these clubs in the immediate future.
Borussia Dortmund is an excellent football club with a rich history, but the modern era dictates that they are far below the Premier League concerning world exposure and marketability. Furthermore, the lack of comparative fiscal revenue from television rights in the German top flight ensure that the club still needs to maintain somewhat of a stream of income through player sales.
For all his talent Pulisic is replaceable at Signal Iduna Park. Now, this may not make sense when you consider how talented the American is but you need to weigh up value in financial terms and footballing terms. Dortmund has fallen behind Bayern Munich to a large degree, perhaps even Hoffenheim and Schalke at this point. Despite Lucien Favre’s arrival the club aren’t favourites to win the domestic championship, they will also struggle to challenge in the Champions League.
Is there any reason for them to keep a young star worth over £60 million when they could replace him for far less money with Ismaila Sarr of Rennes believed to be available for less than half that figure?
Borussia Dortmund has been clear in their stance on Pulisic, and this is that he isn’t for sale. However, offers are likely to come in with several clubs needing a high-quality addition on the wings and the German giants have shown an astute knowledge of the market in previous years with the sale of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona having the potential to net them a total profit of over £100 million.
Real Madrid is stockpiling young attackers and would be another marketing haven for the American international, although the club is looking for more established names. Chelsea would seem to Pulisic if Willian leaves, and in Maurizio Sarri they have a coach who could well rapidly improve the Dortmund star in much the way he did for Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne at Napoli.
Manchester United are desperate for additions and Pulisic fits the club’s ideals for new signings far more than both Ivan Perisic and Chelsea’s want-away Brazilian. While Mourinho may not be entirely on board, Pulisic would have significant resale value and the talent to contribute immediately, two factors those behind the scenes at the club think about.
This could become an even more significant possibility if Anthony Martial gets his wish to depart Old Trafford with Bayern Munich keeping a close eye on the Frenchman’s situation, despite their public protestations at such suggestions.
Bringing forward the transfer deadline was intended to prevent panic buying and clubs unsettling players after the season starts, yet it’s been deployed in such a careless manner that it’s going to spark more panic signings.
With there nine days left for Premier League teams to add to their squads, three of last season’s top four are far from happy with their business to this point. There will be a scramble for talent in the coming days and Pulisic is a player that could well emerge as one of the big stories of that period.
English clubs will be tempted, and Borussia Dortmund know this, a sale is far from impossible, and when you consider the potential benefits in the future, a club doing a deal at £55 million could well eventually be seen as a bargain.
There aren’t likely to be any further blockbuster deals in the offing, despite Internazionale’s late interest in Luka Modric, and United States football’s brightest ever prospect could well be set to steal the headlines and embark on a Premier League adventure.
*Disclaimer: The opinions within this article are those of the author and not necessarily representative of SportPesa