Christian Pulisic could be making his way to the Premier League in the summer, according to recent reports. Liverpool looks to be his most likeliest destination, with Bild, a reputable German news outlet, claiming that Jurgen Klopp is readying a £53m summer bid for the 19-year-old American international. Reports in February also suggested that it would take a significantly larger €100m fee in order to press BVB into selling their prized asset.
The Bundesliga outfit have become accustomed to selling their most important players over the years: Mats Hummels, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze (who has since returned) were all eventually sold to fierce rivals Bayern Munich. Those departures did have an effect on Dortmund, but smart transfer dealings managed to keep the club one step ahead and they still posed a real threat in Europe and the Bundesliga.
This season, however, the inevitable consequences of their ‘sell and replace’ policy have caught up with the club. The Black and Yellows failed to win any of their UEFA Champions League games but did finish third in the group to qualify for the Europa League, but were then knocked out by Salzburg in the round of 16. BVB are currently on course to qualify for the Champions League, but their domestic season has still been a massive disappointment compared to years gone by.
Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to 14th-placed Mainz perfectly summed up the season. Individual and collective performances have all too often been sluggish and boring. The exciting football once associated with Dortmund seems to be departing along with their most influential players.
Pulisic may well depart in the summer, but the youngster isn’t one of BVB’s most influential players. Last year, In his breakthrough season with the club, Pulisic scored three goals and provided six assists in 34 league appearances. Taking all things into consideration, it was a good return which proved the then 18-year-old’s potential. At the end of the campaign, Dortmund reportedly rejected an £11m bid from Liverpool for the player, and understandably so. There was no way an £11m fee would convince the club into selling their prized asset.
One year later, the Reds are preparing to launch a significantly larger bid for the American – £53m. If the reports are to be believed, then the club should consider selling. Pulisic’s stats for this season don’t merit the sharp price increase: he has scored five goals and provided four assists 31 league appearances. In truth, his progress has been minimal.
18-year-old Jadon Sancho, in comparison, has one goal and four assists in his first season playing for a senior side – Sancho has played just under 600 minutes of league football, whereas Pulisic has played just over 2200 minutes. The England youth international has started predominantly on the left of a front three, but Andriy Yarmolenko is capable replacement for Pulisic on the right.
The 28-year-old, who arrived in the summer from Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kyiv, has struggled with injuries in his debut season for the club, but has still managed three goals and two assists in 13 league starts.
Pulisic is still a promising talent, but £55m – and potentially even more – for a player, who is yet to truly shine, would represent good business for Dortmund. The club and its fans have a pool of other talented youngsters to get excited about; Sancho, Isak, and Gomez to name a few.
Nevertheless, the club has regressed more so this season than in any other. Right now, unlike in previous years, BVB need to invest in established performers, players who are likely to cost the club large transfer fees. If the sale of Pulisic can help Dortmund secure the services of those types of players, then it’s a sacrifice worth making.