European football has an unhealthy obsession with finding the next wonderkid. The likes of Kerlon, Alexandre Pato and Federico Macheda have all seen their career on the continent rise and fall within the blink of an eye after being dubbed ‘the next big thing’.
But there are few players in the world who are facing the daunting prospect of following that same path as Borussia Dortmund wunderkind Christian Pulisic – the saviour of Americain soccer.
Pulisic has been widely regarded as one of the most promising players in football for a number of years. The 19-year-old made his debut for Borussia Dortmund during the 2015/16 campaign, coming on as a second half substitute in a 2-0 win over Ingolstadt.
“This is big, there’s no doubt about it,” said former USA coach Jürgen Klinsmann at the time, quoted by MLS Soccer. “If you’re proving your point at the age of  in such a big environment there, it shows that you have courage, you have confidence.”
Just three weeks later Pulisic started his first game for the Black and Yellows. Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel deployed the young Americain on the left flank in a narrow victory on the road to Bayer Leverkusen, starting alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Pulisic has since gone on to represent Dortmund 97 times across all competitions, including in the Champions League and Europa League.
Despite maintaining his high reputation across the continent, the USMNT international has actually seen his playing time in North Rhine-Westphalia become more rare this season, albeit only just.
Perhaps most worryingly for Pulisic this season has been the emergence of another English speaking winger at Borussia Dortmund who is quickly becoming one of the hottest prospects in the Bundesliga.
Jadon Sancho only moved to the Westfalenstadion last season, ditching life at Manchester City in the search of first team football abroad.
Although the 18-year-old has to be patient for his chance at Dortmund, few fans would argue that the England Under-19 international has been their best player since the winter break – excluding Michy Batshuayi and Marco Reus.
The signings of Andriy Yarmolenko and Maxi Philipp last year have also pushed Pulisic further out of the limelight in Germany, with Dortmund’s rumoured approach for Eintracht Frankfurt star Marius Wolf set to make a regular place in their first team even harder to come by.
This has left Borussia Dortmund at somewhat of a crossroads in terms of Pulisic’s future at the club; do they cash in on the young winger or build their squad around him?
The Black and Yellows won’t find suitors hard to come by for the 19-year-old if they opted to sell, and Pulisic could easy bring Dortmund a similar transfer fee to what Ousmane Dembélé did when he moved to Barcelona last year.
With money in the Bundesliga far from that which clubs in the Premier League boast, even the infamous Westphalian club would find it difficult to turn their nose up at a big money offer.
If Dortmund were adamant that Pulisic would stay put – at least until his contract expires in 2020 – then they would have to make the Hershey-born winger the first name on the team sheet to stop his development stalling even further, but that seems like an unlikely thing at this stage.
Although it’s a pill that Dortmund fans won’t want to swallow, Pulisic might have to move away from the Westfalenstadion this summer if he wants to reach his potential and avoid becoming just another name on the list of European football’s failed wonderkids.