Since the early days of Jurgen Klopp’s reign at Liverpool the name of a teenage prodigy has often been muttered with each passing transfer window, and that rising star is Christian Pulisic.
Links to the American international have grown fiercer with each passing year as the romanticism of football has it that the Reds’ man at the helm will reunite with the player whose career he set in motion over three years ago.
And while Liverpool have made previous attempts to push through a move, news that Borussia Dortmund could be willing to part ways with Pulisic this summer should spark the Reds into immediate action.
The winger is widely discussed as one of football’s best young talents, and while his on field prowess should catch Liverpool’s eye the benefits of his signature come on two fronts: his playing ability and his appeal to the American market.
Firstly, at 19 years old he has already amassed 97 senior appearance for Dortmund since making the transition from the youth team in 2015 – not before he was given a glimpse of life in the first team under the tutelage of Klopp in his early days at the club.
A show of faith which Pulisic remains grateful for: “I was obviously playing with the youth teams at Dortmund, but he was the one who gave me my first professional training session, just to give me a taste of it.
“He always accepted me and he was very kind to me, so I will always be thankful for that. I know he’s a great guy, and it’s nice to see him doing so well for Liverpool.”
While the pair’s time together was brief due to Klopp’s departure from the club in 2015, the respect and admiration is a mutual feeling, with the German boss shedding light on the 19-year-old last week when Dortmund and Liverpool came face to face in a pre season friendly.
“I like Christian, I’ve known him since he was a kid. He’s still not really old, he’s a fantastic player, and it’s deserved people think highly of him in America.
“If – at one point – he will join us, I don’t know. I like him, it’s not that that could be the problem, but we respect contracts still and there’s no market I know about at the moment. We did our business and Dortmund are doing theirs. All good,” Klopp said.
However, since Klopp uttered those words the 19-year-old’s situation appears to have changed, with Dortmund reportedly willing to sanction a deal for €70m. And with Liverpool yet to fill the void left by Philippe Coutinho, they should take the plunge.
He would not be a direct replacement for the Brazilian, nor would he displace Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane from the wings, but he is of a similar profile to the Reds’ existing attack and would offer much needed depth, which was largely unavailable at Anfield last term.
Pulisic’s explosive pace and willingness to run at the opposition would see him thrive in the Premier League, and having already been offered a glimpse of life under Klopp, he is more than capable of hitting the ground running.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to be out for most of the season and Adam Lallana often troubled by injury problems of his own, Pulisic could offer a creative spark behind the front three which is currently lacking on the red half of Merseyside.
A move for Nabil Fekir this summer proved as much, and with the deal for the Lyon skipper in serious doubt, Liverpool would be wise to pay the difference in asking prices from €53m to €70m to secure Pulisic this summer.
While Fekir’s current level of performance is far superior than the American winger, there is cause for argument that Pulisic’s ceiling is higher and his full potential could be unleashed at Anfield under Klopp.
Furthermore, Pulisic is a rising force in the American market and he would prosper in the Premier League with the backing of Liverpool’s Boston based owners, FSG.
The Reds’ owners have long been pushing the team in America with tours across the country now a regular feature of the club’s pre season preparations every two-years, and having the pulling power of one of the country’s leading talents is seemingly a no brainer.
The Reds need to look no further than the impact Salah has had in Egypt to gain a small glimpse into how Pulisic’s arrival could make them heavyweights in the region for the foreseeable future.
His star is already bright across the United States, and a move to Liverpool would undoubtedly make him the poster boy for the club’s American brand which could see a sizeable return on their investment.
While Liverpool have already splashed the cash this summer with the additions of Alisson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho, the chance to secure a future superstar of the game does not come around often – so if there is an opportunity to seize the moment, Liverpool should not have any hesitation in pulling the trigger and making a move for the 19-year-old.