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Transfer Target Quick Hits: Christian Pulisic

The transfer window is officially open, and that means plenty of targets on the horizon. Throughout the summer, we’ll be publishing a series of quickfire interviews on Liverpool’s prospective targets, conducted with the journalists, correspondents and pundits who know them best.

This edition will examine American wonderkid and Fenway Sports Group dream target, Christian Pulisic.

Tribal Football recently picked up a story that Borussia Dortmund are rumoured to lose the American to England, with Liverpool among the three clubs rumoured to be in for him.

There’s no better time to take a look at the teenager’s meteoric rise and where he could potentially fit into Jürgen Klopp’s plans.

Sharing his insight on Pulisic is Bundesliga guru Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams). This interview was conducted prior to Tribal Football’s report and does not represent Chris’ opinion of the news.

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Describe Pulisic as a player. What are his notable strengths? Weaknesses?

His strength is dribbling with the ball. When he’s on his game, he can strike fear into any retreating backline. He also has the ability to pick out a pass and find an attacker – somewhat down this current season but that is down to the overall performance of Dortmund rather than his individual effort.

Due to Dortmund’s short passing style, it is no surprise his one-two game is of a high standard. He can work the ball well out of tight spots to open the play up for a quick attack and even quicker counter.

His only real weakness would be in the air. Down to his size, he’s only 172 cm but this does give him a low centre of gravity – a must for a speedy winger.

What kind of role has he played at Dortmund? Whose system suited him best between Thomas Tuchel, Peter Bosz and Peter Stoger?

Christian Pulisic burst onto the scene back in 2015/16, even though he only played nine Bundesliga games. His back-to-back goals on Matchdays 30 and 31 really brought his talent to the wider world.

As such, he then became to be a crucial cog in Thomas Tuchel’s BVB side. Originally benched for the two opening games of the 16/17 season, he soon established himself as a regular. With two assists and a goal on his season debut, his danger from out wide was something the Dortmund head coach couldn’t ignore.

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His performances in the cup competitions also began to bring the American to a wider audience, with a telling performance against Legia Warsaw in the Champions League. As his talent helped BVB pick apart the side from Poland 6-0. He capped off a tremendous season by replacing Marco Reus in the Pokal Finale and assisting the winning goal. Brought down in the box, it was his play that won the foul from which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang smashed in the winner.

With the departure of Tuchel and the arrival of Peter Bosz, it was anticipated that Pulisic would fly. However, the sale of Ousmane Dembélé to Barcelona and the circus that surrounded Aubameyang’s summer, meant the American would have a troubling season. Pulisic and BVB started the season well but soon the wheels came off. For a team that were tipped to win the league, they soon found themselves chasing Bayern and without a win in Europe.

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Pulisic was put under tremendous pressure from the United States press. National sports outlets were hailing him as the saviour of football and for a young player that didn’t help – he needed protection from the spotlight not thrusting into it. All in all, Dortmund had a poor season and unfortunately, Pulisic had a part to play. Although there were shining lights, against Bayern for example, he was the standout performer for the Yellow and Blacks.

Do you see Pulisic as a good fit for Liverpool? The Premier League? Do you think a move is realistic?

Jürgen Klopp is most definitely a fan and this is no secret with Liverpool linked for a move for the American for the past 12 months. However, he doesn’t have the ability to dislodge any of the current forward three for the Reds. But with Liverpool aiming to challenge on four fronts again next season squad depth and quality is a real must.

He’s guaranteed game time at Dortmund but would he get that at Liverpool? Would he be happy with a move to the Reds at a lower amount of pitch time? Maybe, but he only turns 20 this September, so it may be in his best interest to put any move to the Premier League on hold for 12 to 18 months.  

 

 

Alex Mansfield
Co-owner, editor-in-chief of LFC Transfer Room. @el_mansfield on Twitter. Love a good, civilized debate!

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