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Chelsea acquires Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund


Christian Pulisic’s transfer saga is finally over, with a Premier League giant winning the U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder’s services.

London outfit Chelsea won the race for Pulisic, agreeing to a $73 million deal (£58 mil) with Borussia Dortmund, the club confirmed on Wednesday. Pulisic will remain on loan at Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign before joining Maurizio Sarri’s squad in the summer.

“In summer I move on to Chelsea and to a new competition, the English Premier League,” Pulisic said. “It’s a privilege to have signed for such a legendary club and I look forward to working hard towards being a contributor to their team of world class players.”

Since breaking through for Dortmund during the 2015-16 campaign, Pulisic has made 115 appearances for the Bundesliga side. He scored 15 goals and added 24 assists since, while also being the leader of a young USMNT.

“We are delighted to have signed one of Europe’s most sought-after young players. Christian has shown his quality during a fantastic spell in Germany and at just 20, we believe he has the potential to become an important Chelsea player for many years to come,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said. “We look forward to welcoming him to Stamford Bridge in the summer and wish him and Dortmund every success for the remainder of the season.”

Despite Dortmund’s rise to the Bundesliga table this campaign, Pulisic has struggled for consistent minutes under first-year manager Lucien Favre. In 18 appearances this season, Pulisic has scored three goals and added three assists. However, Pulisic had been fighting with England starlet Jadon Sancho for time in Favre’s starting XI.

PSG and Liverpool were also hovering over the 20-year-old but Chelsea has been the most active over recent weeks.

Dortmund returns to Bundesliga play on Jan. 19th at RB Leipzig.


  1. So Sarri claims he didn’t know anything about the deal. “The club asked my opinion about him about one month ago. My opinion was positive. Today I have known that the deal is done, but I didn’t know anything.”

    What’s the point of him revealing this? That there’s a rift between coach and management? Or that while he’s “positive” about Pulisic, he’s pissed that he was kept in the dark, so he will not consider CP one of “his guys”? Either way, kinda makes him look like a tool…

      • Yeah it doesn’t give you the warm & fuzzies. Maybe the club sees its players as more longterm fixtures than their coach, so they don’t really care what Sarri thinks? Either way, it’s a dumb way to acquire players.

    • Yall are looking at this completely wrong. Dortmund has a chance to have a historic season. They aren’t going to bench Pulisic out of spite. Pulisic finds himself on the bench b/c the players above him are playing very well and the team is getting great results. If someone above Pulisic’s form drops or he gets on a hot streak he will absolutely get a shot back in the starting 11. No one at Dortmund is going to risk this season happening right now in order to develop the team for next season. This isn’t a video game

      • i have watched every single Dortmund game this season. i think your argument is naive in practice even if considered in the abstract. the opposite of intuition. they came out of the gate like a house afire giving pulisic many minutes. they have now started pushing gotze and others into the lineup at the expense of what i see as some slickness and attacking virtuosity. i feel like the games are getting closer and they lost to Fortuna. in theory they should respond as you suggest. in practice they have steadily not just favored sancho but relegated pulisic to cameos.

      • Pulisic started the season well. Got injured. Was replaced by very high performing players The team surged to the top of the table. Has not played very well since the injury. His playing time is directly related to the players around him outperforming him. They have 1 loss in the league. Perhaps the “slickness” hasn’t been there as you say, but the results have been great. This is not a squad like the best Barcelona, Bayern or City teams that will sweep everyone aside with ease. The “house on fire” form was not sustainable all season long, but regardless the results have been the same. Wins on wins on wins. Why would a player playing below par get into a squad that keeps winning without him as a key player. If Pulisic was playing well and then benched your argument would make sense. However, Dortmund knew before the season started that he was not going to sign a new contract. Benching a player who would make them better b/c he’s leaving in 6 months makes no sense. Why wouldn’t Dortmund/Favre be doing what they think will best propel them to a historic season? The answer is Favre believes there are better options currently. Not saying that is correct, but makes far more sense than your theory.

  2. I don’t get the mentality of, I am a Chelsea fan now. Just because he is American?
    What if he is a jerk? Doesn’t matter I have to root for his team?
    I do get that this mentality is why he is worth $75 million. The USA version of Chicharito!!!!

    • I am a Fulham and Chelsea fan, and with the whole Fulhamerica thing — which started after I first watched their games live in the 90s — it’s amusing how the tide goes out and back in there. People loved Fulham when Dempsey was there. He wants to sign at Spurs and Fulham suddenly are jerks. Ream signs there, interest comes back. etc. To me if you don’t know the songs and haven’t been to the stadium you’re a tourist and I expect you’re on to the next pilgrimage site afterwards.

    • I always follow whichever euro teams that have American playing in them. Pray that Sarri will rate Pulisic (he’d better, $73M) much more than Lucien Farve. Pulisic and Chicharito are two totally different style footallers. Both are great though.

      • my silly compatriots, you can root for a team there and stick with it, and root for the individual players you like and follow them around. you don’t have to be some rotating fan.

  3. Being an American in the PL is tough as the fans often blame the american first for any team problem but I think this will be a good fit. Think this will let Kante move back to the 6 and let Pulisic run at players with minimum defensive responsibility ala hazard (who is likely going to RM). Also glad because NBC>>>>Fox in soccer coverage.

    • Does the fact that the deal begins with a buy-leaseback give you any trepidations? That suggests to me that Pulisic’s current reduced role at Dortmund will not be immediately fixed (nor will they have incentive to lean heavily on a player in his last months there), and that in reality he is not that urgently needed at Chelsea either. Buying the player and handing him back for half a season doesn’t sound like he is slotting right into the XI. It sounds like a bigger club version of Miazga being signed then loaned right back out.

      • I take a different view in the buy/loan back or whatever it is. I think this was a way for Chelsea to secure a main target for the summer early before other suitors potentially come in and force a bidding war (possibly just to drive up the price for Chelsea). Dortmund are in the title race for the first time in years and are not about to weaken their squad mid season. Chelsea secures a major target for the summer early. Dortmund cashes in and keeps the player through their title challenge who they know they will be selling in the summer.
        All reports say Pulisic has targeted summer 2019 for the last couple years as the time to move to the Premier league. He wasn’t resigning a new contrac wiith Dortmund and they have to cash in before losing him for free. This is a win for Chelsea and Dortmund.

      • @IV

        “doesn’t sound like he is slotting right into the XI”

        i mean, he’s not.

        a) they have willian and pedro this season, but it’s likely that one of them, and possibly both, will not be there next season (willian’s been angling for a move for a while, and pedro’s ideally a sub at this point).

        b) sarri has an extremely specific style of play that he demands, and it would be improbable that pulisic would be able to pick it up midseason

        c) pulisic is more important to dortmund this season (it was likely they who required the loan-back clause) than he would be to chelsea

        these are not really knocks on pulisic, or the transfer itself. it’s not like dembele slotted straight into barca, either, but i wouldn’t call that a bad thing. the real losers (as always) are chelsea’s youth who will have to wait even longer for a decent chance.

      • So they agreed to pay 73 million dollars (plus whatever salary they have agreed to with CP himself) but you don’t think they value him? This locks him up for Chelsea going forward, but still allows BvB to make a run at the treble. It also benefits CP because he will now be on his new salary from Chelsea which is likely more than what BvB paid him. Chelsea wins, BvB wins, and CP wins.

      • I’ll go with Ronaldino’s interpretation on this. They wanted him, but not quite yet, Dortmund knew they needed to sell him…but also not quite yet, and so this deal.

        Sounds correct.

      • The numbers argument runs headlong into the loan that immediately follows. He signs for a lot of money, yes, but then not on their roster after he is bought. 6 months, maybe, or maybe they sign a couple more wingers. American fans tend to myopically focus on he got signed there, or the players right now on the roster. Unlike salary cap US sports, soccer teams don’t usually sign just one guy. There will be Hazard, and then if 1 or 2 30+ players ship out, perhaps Pulisic and a couple others. Pulisic was an important signing at Dortmund, and then so was Sancho.

      • The $$ is very different. Miazga’s transfer fee was 3 Mill. €, while Pulisic’s €64m, a whopping 21x. Not apple to apple here.

      • IV: The loan is so the deal gets done. Chelsea wanted Pulisic last Summer, but couldn’t get the deal done, BvB wasn’t willing to release him in January (and CPs camp said they didn’t want him to join Chelsea without a full training camp) no he’s not Dortmund’s first choice starter but they need him with Cup, CL, and BL matches filling their calendar. Agree to the deal now with the loan prevents another club from swooping in and stealing CP away from Chelsea or at least bumping up the price higher. Yes, the dollar amount does matter, if this is Miazga and its 5 million yes they are just looking to make a profit unless he hits it big, but for 73 million the likelihood he fails at Chelsea and brings more than that in his next move is zero.

      • the loan back was Pulisic’s idea per sources, with the idea of having a full preseason to impress Sarri instead of showing up in the middle of the season. Sounds like a very mature and logical mentality by Christian.

    • I’ve also seen it mentioned that Chelsea may be hit with some sort of transfer ban. So this deal gets a player in for them now before the ban takes place ( also when teams know they are desperate to bring in players due to a ban that could drive up the asking price). There could be other purchases during the winter window for that reason. Great point on Sarri’s style being difficult to pick up mid season. He typically uses a smaller squad with less rotation due to that and team chemistry. Also Chelsea tends not to extend players in their 30’s beyond 1 year deals. So Pedro and William could be on their way out if not this summer than soon after that.

    • Even a club owned by a billionaire doesn’t spend $73 million for a player they think will only provide depth and they foresee him as mostly a bench player. Even in today’s insane market, $73 million is still a lot for a player. Chelsea management obviously thinks that he will become a starter and an important part of their team in the future, Now it’s up to CP to fulfill those expectations. He certainly is financially set for life, whatever happens. I wonder if he needs an agent. I’m good with numbers.

  4. Good for him. It’s a risk and may not work out, but credit to CP for taking a shot. It doesn’t hurt that he’s most likely getting a big pay increase.
    Honestly though, it does seem like a lot of money to pay for him. It’s got to be the biggest transfer fee ever paid for an American, by far. Maybe John Brooks to Wolfsburg had been the biggest?

    • Is it a lot of money? Yes. Is it above market? Not even close. PSG paid >$200M for Mbappe (who is similar age) 2 years ago and Barca paid ~$140M for Coutinho (6 years older than CP) last year. So CP’s valuation is 1/3 of Mbappe (probably even less now as I suspect Mbappe will probably go for something like $300M in his next move) and 1/2 of of Coutinho (CP is 6 years younger).

      The valuation against those comparables seems about right.

  5. This likely won’t help with his immediate playing time situation, but Favre doesn’t rate him on the same level as Sancho. Glad CP has lined up this move and is going to a team that values him so highly.

      • It’s a fair point but a wise player should want to come out the other side playing. The very fact CFC can say, ok, Dortmund, we’ll buy him but you can then have him back a few more months, suggests he is not straight into the lineup.

      • Don, I keep seeing that opinion all over and really think people are looking past the obvious answer. Dortmund are rolling with their current starting 11 that does not include Pulisic. He’s still a valuable member of the first team and will see significant minutes moving forward, but Larson and Sancho are playing great, Dortmund is playing great. His diminished status this season has a lot more to do with that than his contract.
        I’m hopeful he can refocus after the winter break and transfer news to push back into the starting lineup, but right now he’s behind the other guys for good reason.

      • ESPN UK reporting that this negotiation has been underway since last Summer. CP had told BvB that he wanted to go to the EPL and in order for them to get value out of him the deal needed to be done before the final year of his contract. Pulisic’s camp did not want him to move in January because they want him to have a full training camp to earn his place with Sarri. Chelsea wanted the deal done though so that Bayern, Liverpool, or ManU didn’t swoop in.

    • Not necessarily. You can just be a Pulisic fan. I’m a Eden Hazard fan, but team wise now I like Tottenham and Liverpool. BTW, for purposes of comparison, I just looked it up and Mo Salah’s transfer fee to Liverpool in 2017 (He had just turned 25) was 42 million pounds, or about $53 million, a club record for Liverpool. That would make it safe to assume that even if they wanted to get Pulisic, Liverpool couldn’t compete financially with Chelsea. Salah, BTW, was originally a Chelsea product who played little for them, was loaned out to Florentina and then Roma, and then sold to Liverpool.


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