Christian Pulisic has had quite the time over the past year and a half.
After making his Bundesliga debut for Borussia Dortmund on January 30, Pulisic quickly rose to superstardom in the United States, as he was a 17-year-old American playing regularly for one of the top teams in the entire world. It’s the player that American soccer fans had dreamed of for decades. And he’s finally here.
From that singular appearance with Dortmund, Pulisic would go on to make 11 more appearances for the German side over the course of the 2015-16 season, scoring two goals. Of course, that play earned the attention of USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Klinsmann called Pulisic into the team for the United States’ World Cup qualifier against Guatemala in March, with Pulisic coming on late in a 4-0 victory. Pulisic would later earn a place on the USMNT’s 2016 Copa America roster, and despite only making appearances as a substitute, many fans viewed him as the future of the national team.
Despite a very impressive summer for a 17 year old, Pulisic’s place in the Dortmund squad was far from guaranteed heading into this season. The arrivals Ousmane Dembele, Mario Gotze, and Andre Schurrle, three veteran players who play Pulisic’s attacking midfield role made playing time a battle, and the chance to start nearly impossible. That’s not exactly the preferred environment for a young player to get time on the field.
Thus, it begs the question, should Christian Pulisic look for a move away from Dortmund?
As the youngest player to score twice in the Bundesliga, as well as the youngest American to score in an international match, there will undoubtedly be suitors for Pulisic. Jurgen Klopp, the current Liverpool manager and coaching legend at Dortmund, is reportedly a huge fan of the American youngster, and would be very in favor of bringing Pulisic to the Premier League at Merseyside. Additionally, Chelsea are reportedly interested, which would give him the chance to join fellow American Matt Miazga. Furthermore, both north London clubs, Arsenal and Spurs, have reportedly monitored Pulisic’s emergence over the past few months.
Needless to say, if he chooses to leave Dortmund, the young American will have no shortage of suitors.
However, with any transfer move there remains a ton of risk, and for Pulisic it is no different. Dortmund is the only European club Pulisic has ever known, having come over to their youth team in 2015 on a Croatian passport. Additionally, while the playing time seems sparing at Dortmund, it’s hard to believe that the fight to play at clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs or even Liverpool would be any easier. Thus, it remains a tough decision for the young American, as he reaches a crossroads of his career.
Ideally, Pulisic could vocalize his concerns about playing time, and hope Dortmund would approve a loan to another European club. Transferring before his 18th birthday seems awfully hasty for the young American, though the need to get first team games is essential to his development. If he can get a loan, he could potentially get starter’s level playing time, while still remaining under contract at Dortmund.
Considering how important it is for young players to be comfortable for their development, it seems silly for Pulisic to even consider a transfer away from Dortmund. However, if the West German giants can’t offer their young American midfielder playing time, it would be hard to argue with Christian’s desire to leave the club and seek first team minutes. A loan move seems ideal here, but if Pulisic must transfer to get time, than he must do so to bolster his chances of achieving his potential.