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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Future of Christian Pulisic: The Most Expensive American Soccer Player Ever

To no one’s surprise, Christian Pulisic has now become the most expensive American soccer player of all time. But is he really worth that hefty a price tag?

The previous record for an American player was held by Wolfsburg’s acquisition of center back John Anthony Brooks at $22 million in 2017. Meanwhile, the Pulisic transaction was came at well over double that at $73 million or £58 million.

Borussia Dortmund’s exciting youngster has already proven himself for both club and country. He became the youngest non-German player to score in the Bundesliga, youngest player to appear in a US Men’s World Cup qualifier and is the youngest US captain ever.

Let me remind you that the Hershey, Pennsylvania native is only 20 years old.

However, the US team was met with a historic disappointment missing last year’s World Cup in Russia (the last World Cup we didn’t qualify for was 1984). However with players like Pulisic and teenager Timothy Weah, there are many reasons that the US could have an incoming spark at the national level.

But while Pulisic is clearly the most creative and explosive player for the US, he has had concerning recent struggles for his club.

Pulisic, playing mostly right winger just hasn’t contributed much this season. He has only played 11 out of the 17 Bundesliga matches, missing several due to two separate injuries. This season he has added just one goal and two assists.

Due to his injuries, his right wing position began to be filled by 18 year old Jadon Sancho. Sancho has produced six goals and seven assists this season, clearly earning his value in the lineup over Pulisic. Even last year the American couldn’t beat Sancho’s record as Pulisic only added four goals and five assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances.

So who wins? Dortmund or Chelsea?

With Pulisic struggling and his younger replacement producing far more, it’s hard to not love this deal if you’re Borussia Dortmund. To add the cherry on top, the current first place German side gets to keep Pulisic for the remaining of the season allowing them to pursue their title race with him as a weapon.

Meanwhile, Chelsea is inheriting a 20-year-old stud who has the potential to become one of the world’s best. But still he hasn’t produced like a superstar quite yet, so will he pan out as a $78 million dollar value?

The way I see it, his career at Chelsea could go a couple different ways.

Either he will play right off the bat or get put on loan during the first or second transfer window this coming season.

Most likely scenario: He will be loaned out in the next year or two

High caliber Premier League teams have so many high quality players that they are forced to bench some of them. Although spots are earned in training, it surely won’t be easy for Pulisic to get minutes.

This will likely lead him to the footsteps of former Chelsea Blues like Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah.

De Bruyne and Salah were not given the necessary opportunities. Each player was purchased by Chelsea at an age similar to Pulisic. After a few opportunities of play at Chelsea, they were each loaned out to smaller clubs for multiple years.

After being loaned, neither player received any more sufficient caps at Chelsea and were sold. Although they seem like they failed as Chelsea players, Salah and De Bruyne went right somewhere in this long process. Whether it was playing prominent roles in different leagues or training at Chelsea, both players are now considered some of the best players in the Premier League if not the best.

Ideal, but less likely scenario: He immediately becomes a star.

For Chelsea (and Americans) this is the most optimistic scenario. They have gone out and purchased a high-priced player, one that might fill veteran Pedro’s spot or a transferring Hazard in the future. Ideally, he will become a star immediately.

If Maurizio Sarri stays at Chelsea the next couple of years, there is a good chance that Pulisic will get a fair amount of opportunities to prove his worth. This would be a monumental moment in his career, opening the gates up to becoming a superstar if he has it in him.

Though excited to find out, we won’t know until September how the first step of his new path is going to go so keep your eyes focused on Chelsea this summer.

What is most important for Christian.

Pulisic has the potential to show something special on the pitch in the next five years regardless of what jersey he is wearing.

Sancho is taking away some minutes at Dortmund so leaving might be a positive move.

There is a lot of uncertainty of how his career is going to pan out. The pressures of joining Chelsea are going to be high and although I don’t believe Pulisic is a future piece of Chelsea, he has the opportunity to prove me wrong.

After all,we have never seen an American at the age of 20 play for two teams as high caliber as Dortmund and Chelsea.

This is a historic turning point for his career and US soccer.

– Alex Jaramillo

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