Chelsea have signed Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund for €64 million (£57.6m, $73.1m) and have loaned the United States international back to the Bundesliga club ahead of him moving to the Premier League next summer.
ESPN FC reported on Dec. 29 that Chelsea made a bid of more than £50 million for Pulisic, who had been linked with Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich among others.
Dortmund were unwilling to consider parting with Pulisic during the season, so the 20-year-old winger will spend the rest of the campaign in Germany before moving to Stamford Bridge.
“In summer I move on to Chelsea and to a new competition, the English Premier League,” Pulisic said. “It’s a privilege to have signed for such a legendary club and I look forward to working hard towards being a contributor to their team of world class players.”
Sources have told ESPN FC the decision to join Chelsea next summer, rather than in January, was Pulisic’s decision in order to give him the best chance of impressing Maurizio Sarri during preseason.
ESPN FC has also been told that the addition of Pulisic is independent of speculation over the future of Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Hazard is far from certain to still be at Stamford Bridge by next season as he continues to postpone contract talks in the hope of attracting a solid offer from Real Madrid, and Sarri has also favoured using the Belgium international as a false No. 9 rather than a winger in recent weeks.
Hudson-Odoi, meanwhile, wants assurances of a significant first-team role before agreeing to a new deal at Stamford Bridge, but Sarri has played down the 18-year-old’s readiness to be a key contributor in the Premier League and Bayern Munich harbour a serious interest in taking him to Germany.
Chelsea do not want to sell Hudson-Odoi, but may feel they have no choice if he allows his contract to run down further. Bayern are believed to regard his potential as similar to that of Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, and have reportedly already had a £20m bid to sign him rejected.
Pulisic, will see out the 2018-19 season with Dortmund, who lead the Bundesliga by six points, and could move to Chelsea as a title winner.
“It has always been Christian’s big dream to play in Premier League,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. “This certainly has something to do with his American origin and thus we were not able to prolong his contract.
“Because of this background and with his contract running down in 2020, we decided to accept Chelsea’s incredibly lucrative offer.
“Christian Pulisic has a flawless character. I am sure he’ll will do all he can in the coming months to contribute his big qualities to the squad and achieve Borussia Dortmund’s sporting goals with his teammates.”
Dortmund identified Pulisic as an up-and-coming star at an international tournament in Turkey in 2014 and, having signed for BVB’s academy in February 2015, he made his senior debut for the club one year later.
In April 2016 he became the youngest non-German to score a goal in Bundesliga at 17 years and 212 days.
A fluent German speaker by the time of his senior debut, Pulisic excelled in his first full season with Dortmund’s first team. He made 43 appearances under Thomas Tuchel, and contributed five goals and 13 assists across all competitions.
And in May 2017, he set up Ousmane Dembele’s DFB-Pokal winning goal in the final against Frankfurt. Following yet another solid season in 2017-18, Pulisic’s stock at Dortmund dropped this campaign amid uncertainty over his future.
As BVB mount their first title challenge since 2012, the United States captain has mostly come off the bench under new coach Lucien Favre. He has scored three goals and set up a further four in 18 appearances, but last had a hand in a BVB goal in a cup match on Oct. 31.
Pulisic has made a total of 115 competitive appearances for Dortmund, scored 15 goals and set up a further 24.
ESPN FC’s Liam Twomey and Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.