As the New Year rapidly approaches, so does the inevitable and unstoppable tide of transfer rumors that accompanies the January transfer window, and Christian Pulisic has already been linked with moves away from his current club Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool and even Barcelona are reportedly interested, but he has, and should continue to dismiss any talk of a move away from the Westfalenstadion for now; he’s in the perfect situation.
Pulisic arrived at Dortmund in January of 2015, and in a year he had already been promoted to the first team. Since then, he’s become a key part of their rotation, featuring not only in important Bundesliga matches but gaining priceless experience in Champions League as well. Only three Borussia Dortmund players have played more than him this season. That’s not only a testament to his fantastic work ethic and ability, but to the spirit of meritocracy and egalitarianism that’s made Die Schwarzgelben such a success in recent years. One that is not in effect at all clubs.
From the Jurgen Klopp years to current manager Thomas Tuchel’s reign, Dortmund have built their team on the combination of youth and relative unknowns. Players like Robert Lewandowski and Shinji Kagawa came to the club as obscure names, but were given the chance to prove themselves based on merit. Youths like Mario Gotze were given the platform to be successful at the club at a young age because they showed they were good enough. It’s the same today. Pulisic has earned his spot in the team not because of his name, but because he deserves it.
Pulisic is attracting attention from around Europe. Stoke City had a €20 million bid knocked back for then-17-year-old Pulisic, while Jurgen Klopp is reported to be interested in bringing the American wunderkind to Liverpool. Barcelona have sniffed arond. And it’s for good reason.
The American is the youngest non-German to ever score in the Bundesliga and the youngest Bundesliga player period to score two goals in one game. He’s also the youngest player in the modern era to score a goal for the United States, and the Americans’ youngest ever goalscorer in a World Cup Qualifier. Pulisic has not only earned minutes against the likes of Real Madrid in Champions League, he’s proven he belongs on the pitch and can shine.
This has all happened, in part, because of the platform Dortmund affords him. Tuchel himself has shown a particular affinity for given young talent their chance to sparkle, and Dortmund’s current squad is chock full of young, exciting players with bright futures ahead of them. Alongside Pulisic are 19-year-old sensation Ousmane Dembele, 21-year-old Julian Weigl, 18-year-old Felix Passlack, and a number of other young, gifted athletes, all competing and earning their way in the Dortmund system.
Pulisic faces competition from all sides. Not only does is he battling for a spot with young stars like Dembele and Turkish sensation Emre Mor, he’s also got German international stars Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle to deal with. Despite this, he’s still getting quality minutes, and he’s got the backing and faith of a coach who’s willing to give him his shot despite the presence of more "established" first team players.
Not only does Pulisic have a coach that believes in him, and incredible competition all around him, he’s also got the added benefit of playing without the intense pressure of being the main man at a huge club like Dortmund. Despite their massive support, and the high profile of the club, Pulisic is just one of many fantastic talents who are seen as prospects for the future; rough diamonds to cultivate.
Add that to the benefit of playing in Germany’s Bundesliga, one of the best breeding grounds for young talent in the world today, and Pulisic’s in the ideal situation. He’s got a great coach to learn from, talented peers who will push him, and from whom he can learn, and he’s getting quality playing team in one of the world’s top leagues. It’s the perfect recipe for him to grow and mature into the world class player his potential suggests he could be.
Transfer rumors are just that: rumors. As long as the transfer window is around and media exists, they’ll be there. There’s no firm basis to believe Pulisic is on his way out of Dortmund other than press whispers and paper talk.
One day, Pulisic will probably leave Dortmund. It may even be for a bigger club and he could be a true global superstar, but he’s only 18 years old and those clubs, as incredible as they may be, aren’t better for him right now than BVB is. Dortmund is the perfect place for him.
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