How Chelsea is Gambling on Pulisic

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Chelsea made the first big move of the January transfer window with the stunning €64 million capture of US international Christian Pulisic. The move has been met with a mixed response, but what does Pulisic bring to Chelsea, as well as Borussia Dortmund?

Great Potential, Average Output

There is no question Pulisic is talented, however, his statistics have been underwhelming for a player with such a large price tag. In 2017-18, Pulisic managed 4 goals and 6 assists in 32 Bundesliga games. This season, he has totaled only 1 goal and 2 assists in 11 matches.

Pulisic has managed 9 goals in 23 caps for his country, but all the goals came against Concacaf opposition. His most recent appearance in his soon-to-be adopted home of England came from playing for his country at Wembley in November. Pulisic flashed his skills with one brilliant run to beat two defenders and get a shot off, but the plaudits ultimately went to teammate Jadon Sancho.

Sancho has been the breakout star of the season across Europe’s top 5 leagues, and combined with the return of Marco Reus, Pulisic has been forced to play second fiddle.

Looking to the Future

For Dortmund, this deal is a no-brainer, as they’re getting €64 million for a player who only has a year left on his contract. Pulisic will remain in Dortmund until the end of the season, meaning Borussia hasn’t weakened their title push. It also ends any speculation that Sancho may be on his way to England this summer, considering Dortmund has no immediate need to sell.

For Chelsea, their motives will become clear at the end of the season. On face value, Pulisic may just be a replacement for veteran winger Pedro, but some fans fear this move is paving the way for Eden Hazard’s departure. The Belgian superstar has made his desire of joining Real Madrid known, and remains coy on his future. Chelsea will be desperate to keep their star player and yesterday insisted Pulisic isn’t being signed to replace him, but Chelsea cannot allow him to simply run down his contract.

Patience is a rare luxury at Stamford Bridge, and it shouldn’t be forgotten how quickly they wrote off potential star players in Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah. Both now sit comfortably above Chelsea in the Premier League table, and Pulisic will need a quick start to his Stamford Bridge career if he is to stay at Chelsea. If he doesn’t, a loan back to Germany could be in the cards.

Pulisic has talked in recent interviews of his dream to play in the Premier League; a dream he will now realize in August. His debut will be one of the most anticipated headlines of 2019, but his chances of succeeding will be greatly enhanced if Hazard is lining up on the opposite flank.

Picture Credit: Sky Sports

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