Why Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic Must Move to Tottenham Hotspur
Borussia Dortmund wunderkind and USA international Christian Pulisic has been linked with a potential summer move to the English Premier League amid links to Liverpool, Chelsea, and most recently, Tottenham Hotspur. One recent report in The Telegraph claimed that Tottenham and head coach Mauricio Pochettino may turn their sights on Pulisic this summer.
A move to Tottenham during the summer transfer window makes sense for Pulisic for several reasons, and now may be the best time in Pulisic's young career to make such a move.
Liverpool and Chelsea are not ideal destinations for Pulisic
Although the Dortmund-trained Pulisic might seem a strong fit in the attacking system of former Dortmund head coach and current Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have two of the best wide forwards in the world in Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.
Both players each have the blistering pace and cool finishing necessary to succeed on either side of the front line of Klopp's 4-3-3 system.
Pulisic would be hard pressed to displace either Mane or Salah from the Liverpool starting XI and would face competition from recently-signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the now-healthy Adam Lallana for playing time in a deeper attacking midfield role.
It is unclear at this point how long Antonio Conte will remain Chelsea's manager and what system Chelsea will have next season. But Conte's squad last season often featured attacking midfielders Eden Hazard and Pedro lining up behind striker Olivier Giroud, with the talented wide forward Willian often relegated to the bench.
If Brazil international Willian cannot break into the Chelsea starting XI despite a run of good form, it seems unlikely that Pulisic would be able to advance his career in West London.
Chelsea, too, have a bloated roster that features a large number of talented young players often sent out on loans in lower divisions, and Pulisic should be reluctant to add his name to the Blues' vault of unrealized potential.
Pulisic can contribute at Spurs as a wide forward
At Tottenham, Pulisic could rotate with the outstanding and underrated Son Heung-Min in his natural wide forward role and provide immediate contributions and competition for Tottenham in that role.
Son will represent South Korea in the World Cup and potentially the Asian Cup in January 2019, leaving Tottenham immediately short of depth and giving Pulisic an opportunity to win a starting role out of the gate, playing wide of Harry Kane and running at defenders from the channels.
Although Spurs' January arrival Lucas Moura has impressed in a few cameo appearances this season since his move from PSG, Moura has often featured in a deeper and more central attacking midfield role in Pochettino's system alongside Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, with Son and/or Kane further forward.
Pulisic, similarly, has the versatility to compete at both positions and that versatility is known to be valued by Pochettino.
Ideal time for Pulisic to move to the Premier League
At just 19 years of age and having featured as a key player for two seasons for Dortmund in the Bundesliga, now is the time for Pulisic to begin to aim higher in order to elevate his career.
Dortmund finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season as a number of players, including Pulisic, seemed to struggle for good form. They offered little in the way of real threat to champions Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
They were also humiliated with a quick exit from the group stage of the Champions League after suffering two defeats to Tottenham Hotspur and finishing dead last.
Pulisic needs to be playing regularly against the other Top Six Premier League sides as well as play for a team that poses a legitimate threat to advance from the group stages of the Champions League.
The competition at Tottenham would be fierce enough to force Pulisic to grow and learn as a player, but not so fierce as to deprive him of a meaningful opportunity to earn playing time. Finally, Pochettino's reputation as a manager who develops and brings the best out of young talent makes Pulisic a perfect match for Spurs.