An American in Paris: The Borussia Dortmund Player PSG Should Sign

There’s been no shortage of transfer rumors swirling around Paris Saint-Germain since the end of the season and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might be the biggest name linked with a move to the Parc des Princes in recent weeks. While there is still some doubt regarding how concrete the rumor is, it makes sense to think it is a move the club has at least considered at some point.

Without a backup to provide competition and cover for Edinson Cavani last season, a striker has been one of the stated objectives for the summer transfer window. Aubameyang’s stated intent to depart Borussia Dortmund, combined with Nasser Al-Ahelaifi’s desire to make a statement in the transfer market after a sub-par season certainly suggests a move might actually be in the works.

While a potential move presents presents a tantalizing prospect for some, it also raises eyebrows for some as it would put Paris in a similar situation they were a couple of seasons ago with Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic trying to coexist. Given how much of a concern that partnership was, PSG executives must carefully make a decision based on sporting reasons before completing the acquisition.

On the other hand, Christian Pulisic, who plies his trade alongside Aubameyang at Dortmund, is a signing PSG might want to seriously consider making this summer. A player who will definitely make sense for the club in terms of making a statement on the marketing scene as well as for sporting reasons.

The American-born player has been in the news quite a bit recently due to his dazzling performances for the U.S. national team. Labelled already by some as the poster boy for American football (soccer if you will) in the build-up to next year’s FIFA World Cup, he has started gaining quite a following by the sports fans across the United States. This alone already provides quite an interesting prospect for Les Parisiens who, along with other clubs, have been actively trying to build a following across the Atlantic. Underlined by what has almost become an annual summer tour in the U.S. the last two years, with another trip planned this summer, the addition of Pulisic will make the Paris Saint-Germain brand even more recognizable to the casual American football fan.

More importantly, the double-footed attacked would be a perfect fit for PSG’s current 4-3-3 system on either side of the attack. He possesses a high level of technical ability required and would potentially be an upgrade to some of the current options on the wings. The Dortmund attacker recorded 5 goals and 13 assists from 43 appearances in all competitions, many of which came from the bench. His numbers don’t exactly stand out like those of Kylian Mbappé but they are solid numbers for an 18-year-old. As rightly pointed out by U.S. national team manager Bruce Arena, Pulisic is far from a finished product and there are areas he could improve upon:

I think he’s a natural for the game. He sees the game very well and has good instincts on getting in good spots—especially his running off the ball, which is exceptional. As he gets a little bit better and more experienced, I think his ability to be a playmaker and a better passer of the ball in the last half of the field will improve. But he’s certainly an exceptional talent.–Bruce Arena, SI.com

There’s definitely a lot of hype surrounding the American prodigy especially given he only just completed his first full season in a top-flight league. However, he has taken to the highest level by storm and displayed a level of maturity beyond his years with several notable performances in the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League. Already rated as one of the best young footballers in the world, Pulisic has made quite an impression in a short amount of time.

A transfer is definitely going to be difficult to pull off. Besides Pulisic’s contributions on the pitch, Dortmund are reaping the benefits of his appeal to the U.S. market. The player signed an extension earlier this year, which keeps him at the club until 2020 and the prospect of his market value sky-rocketing even more after the World Cup is likely on their minds. Convincing the player to make the move having already settled quite well in Germany would be tough as well. Playing time will be a priority for him and he might not want to risk a set-back leading up to the World Cup.

With Lucas Moura and Hatem Ben Arfa rumored to be on their way out, Pulisic should get a solid amount of minutes if he were to sign and could potentially only be behind Julian Draxler and Angel Di Maria in the pecking order on either wing. However, it is not impossible but it may well take a big dip into that rumored €220m transfer budget to convince Dortmund to depart with their prized asset this summer.

The American sensation will definitely come a lot more expensive than PSG executives might be willing to pay but the number of shirts he will sell will surely offset some of the upfront cost. The potential deal will be a gamble that’s for sure and I’m placing a huge emphasis on the word “potential.” The transfer for a player so young would be out of the ordinary for Paris but it could have a very large payoff if everything goes right.

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Tags Angel Di Maria Christian Pulisic Edinson Cavani Hatem Ben Arfa Julian Draxler Lucas Moura Nasser Al-Khelaifi Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang