Christian Pulisic: Background, strengths, weaknesses, potential & what he will bring to Chelsea
Chelsea began 2019 by snapping up American sensation Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund for £58 million in what was a stellar deal after the player was linked to a host of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool.
The youngster broke into the first team at the Westfalenstadion at the tender age of 17 but saw himself pushed down the pecking order due to the emergence of Jadon Sancho, which in turn resulted in this move.
Although the deal has been successfully completed, he will be with Dortmund for the remainder of the season on loan as Lucien Favre and co. aim to win the Bundesliga title.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia expressed her contentment, saying:
“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. 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.”
On that note, let's analyse Pulisic's strengths, weaknesses and what he could add to Chelsea's ranks.
More on Pulisic
Born and brought up in Pennsylvania, Pulisic took his early steps in the sport at Brackley Town. However, just a year later, his family shifted back to the States. Consequentially, the winger joined Michigan Rush and PA Classics' youth setups, before plying his trade at the Signal Iduna Park.
In February 2015, just after having penned a deal with the German powerhouse, Pulisic was asked to join the U-17 squad. However, he smashed 10 goals and created eight more in just 15 appearances, thereby earning himself a first-team call-up.
Aged just 17 years and 212 days, the forward became the youngest non-German and fourth-youngest player to score a goal in the Bundesliga. All in all, for BVB, he has 15 goals and 18 assists to his name.
On November 20 last year, he became the youngest player to captain the USMNT.
First of all, to have racked up 115 senior club appearances at the mere age of 20 is a massive plus point. Not to mention, these include 81 German top-flight appearances. His career can only get better from here onwards. His biggest strength is the burgeoning ability to run with the ball at a frightening pace.
Owing to his speed and low center of gravity, Pulisic can flip-flap past opponents with aplomb, weave his way past defences and draw fouls for the team.
Often calm and composed in front of goal, the USA skipper can chip in with vital goals. His goals at the youth levels and at Dortmund are a clear testament to that.
In the defensive department as well, the starlet's pace allows him to track back and foil attacks.
If viewed closely, Pulisic has a tendency to go wide, hug the touchline, whip crosses in from the byline and take the aerial route. Not only does this hamper the probability of keeping the ball - a key ingredient of the football played at Stamford Bridge, but also goes against the manager's demands.
Often, the pacy winger squanders opportunities of playing more centrally, which definitely takes away the chances of converting, especially when the team relies on movement and not the number of bodies in the box.
Off the ball as well, Pulisic has to improve. While his runs off the ball are average, the onus of maintaining an attacking shape needs to be developed.
What will he bring to Chelsea?
Pulisic will add a lot of attacking firepower to Chelsea's system. The impact of Eden Hazard's potential exit may be reduced as they now have a young, dynamic winger, who in the long run, can prove to be the ideal replacement for the Belgian.
Secondly, he will offer a lot down the wings and he also provides a massive counter-attacking threat.
Worth the money?
At the moment, there's a lot of scope for improvement as far as Pulisic's tactical accommodations are concerned. He may not meet Sarri's stubborn demands right away, but looking at the long-term and the situation of star man Eden Hazard, it might seem like a fantastic move by the West Londoners.