Borussia Dortmund and US Men’s national team standout Christian Pulisic has been linked with a move to the Premier League since breaking out as a first team regular in 2016. Though he seems content at Dortmund, the rumors of a potential transfer were given a new spark following his excited reaction to the possibility of a move to Manchester United. Pulisic’s situation places him in a good position to seek a transfer over the next couple windows, and the opportunity could be great for both player and club.
Here is what we know:
- Christian Pulisic is under contract at Borussia Dortmund through the end of the 2019-2020 season.
- Pulisic is an admitted fan of Manchester United, and has repeatedly failed to shoot down rumors of a Premier League move in his future.
- José Mourinho is a fan of multi-purpose attacking midfielders.
- The American market for football is rapidly expanding, even if MLS isn’t.
Pulisic has truly broken out as one of Dortmund’s more consistent players. The Yellow Wall has yet to see a true Bundesliga title challenge since the departure of Jurgen Klopp, but their young American helped them to a DFB Pokal title run in the 2016-17 campaign, even making 43 appearances in all competitions that season at the age of just 18.
This season it appears that Dortmund are no closer to challenging Bayern Munich’s dominance despite moving on from Thomas Tuchel. The club also sold their star striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, in the January window after a long and drawn out exit saga between the player and club officials. If Pulisic does want out, the time will come soon when he can demand it.
Pulisic and United
Pulisic has been linked with a Premier League move for quite some time. Though he has mostly been linked with Liverpool, now managed by former Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp, Manchester United have been thrown into the mix in recent weeks. Jose Mourinho has been known to steal away transfers from potential moves to rival clubs in the past (See John Obi Mikel and Willian), and will be motivated further by the young midfielder’s recent comments.
“Yeah, I was. I was definitely a big fan,” Pulisic said, naming United as his boyhood club of choice. “Of course, right now I am under contract with Dortmund and I’m not looking around or doing anything like that so I’m very focused there. But, yeah, it’s cool to hear all this stuff!”
Manchester United is widely considered one of the most, if not the most, supported clubs in the world. When the Premier League became widely available to American viewers in the early 2000s, Manchester United was coming off its most successful ever decade, and won a historic treble in 1999. With Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm, reigning veterans like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, and the arrival of exciting new players such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Wayne Rooney, Manchester United continued their historic success into the new millenium. Jose Mourinho also made a name for himself as the manager of Chelsea in that era, winning 2 Premier League titles and an FA Cup between 2004-2007.
Pulisic, like many other Americans at the time, grew up idolizing these teams and players. The opportunity to play for José Mourinho’s Manchester United may be too much of a dream come to life for him to pass up the opportunity. The timing would suit him as well considering his contract and the Dortmund’s seemingly hopeless struggle to topple giants Munich.
Pulisic and Mourinho
Mourinho may not feel that United need another attacker in the summer with Anthony Martial, Alexis Sánchez, Marcus Rashford, and Jesse Lingard all performing well and taking up the regular first team minutes. Pulisic is normally played on the right side of the midfield for both club and country, but has been known to drift into the middle and play the number 10 role. This is the sort of player Mourinho loves to have plenty of. Players such as Deco, Joe Cole, and Mesut Özil amongst others, and now Juan Mata and Lingard have played the same sort of role under Mourinho.
Pulisic may not be an immediate starter for United, but he would add some much needed depth to United’s second line of attack. His youth and lack of Premier League experience would certainly warrant bringing him off the bench to start his United career, and could give Lingard and/or Mata the sort of line up rotation Mourinho utilizes with Rashford and Martial. With Sánchez in the mix as well could give Mourinho the opportunity to further experiment with a rotating attacking midfield trio behind Romelu Lukaku. The manager would have multiple attacking options prepared for the inevitable injuries, both minor and serious, and the fluctuation of player form over the course of a season.
United and America
Being one of the most popular sports franchises in the world means having loyal supporters around the globe. Manchester United have successfully established and maintained a significant fan base in the United States, whom they frequently entertain through US TV deals and Summer pre-season tours. Though their noisy neighbors, Manchester City, have increased their quality in the team and in branding, it was abundantly clear at the first ever overseas Manchester Derby in July 2017 in Houston, Texas that City have some catching up to do in their American ranks.
And it was Manchester United and Real Madrid’s friendly in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2015 that set the attendance record for a football match in the United States. 109,000 fans packed into Michigan Stadium to see the match. United’s American owners, Avram and Joel Glazer, are quite aware of the huge number of fellow citizens who support the the club.
Now, Imagine the american reaction to the signing of Christian Pulisic. You can bet the Glazers are imagining that as well.
Only 4 Americans have been signed by Manchester United, and none of them were able to achieve sustained success at the club. Pulisic could change that.