Pulisic Transfer Rumors Heat Up

Eddie Johnson recently described Christian Pulisic as the best American player ever. Big words for a 19 year old, but Johnson, a former US National Team player, would know. Pulisic spent a chunk of the off-season training with the former MLS frontman in Orlando, Florida.

Now that preseason training is in full swing and the transfer window drawing to a close, it seems the Hersey, PA native could be on the move. 

Contract talks have stalled with his club team, Borussia Dortmund. He has two years left, but without an extension Dortmund would have to settle for selling him at a discount next summer or letting him go for free. 

Pulisic has been on the radar of Liverpool, FC Bayern, and Real Madrid. Jürgen Klopp, manager at Anfield, was in charge of Dortmund when the American winger first arrived in Germany. FC Bayern sees Pulisic as a natural replacement for their aging stars Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben. And Real Madrid is interest because everyone else is too. 

Late Sunday evening, however, a new front runner has emerged, Chelsea. The London club hasn't made a big splash in the transfer market as of yet. But with Willian, Eden Hazard, and Thibaut Courtois likely on their way out, they'll have money to spend. 

The American youngster does have the potential to be great, but most likely won't be able to fill the shoes of Hazard if the Belgian leaves Stamford Bridge anytime soon. Pulisic didn't particularly shine last season for Dortmund. 

For the sake of improving his skill sets, he's better off staying for another year in Germany. There he'll play much more often than at any of the other teams in the running. Liverpool looks to have sorted out backups for their wingers, Pulisic won't start over Sadio Mané or Mohamed Salah. At FC Bayern, he'd still have to share time with Ribéry and Robben. There'd be no playing time at Real Madrid, even in cup ties. At Chelsea, the team seems in such disarray that even if he were to play more often, it may not be worth the hassle. 

Interested teams, for their part, would be better off waiting until the 2019 Transfer Windows--either in January or in the summer. Dortmund would likely be forced to take much less than the £65 million ($85 million) on offer today. Or they could manage to swing a deal that lets Pulisic stay in Dortmund for one more season--letting him develop his skills--with his transfer being effective next summer. 

Nonetheless, I don't forsee any movement unless Chelsea can get their transfer situation sorted out. Without the money to pay for Pulisic, there's no way they can make a move. It's a better decision all around if he stays one more season in yellow and black. 

With Poland Out, Yet Another World Class Goal Scorer Leaves Too Early

Poland came into this summer's World Cup as the seeded team in Group H. Expectations were that they would find a way to make it into the knockout stage. 

Some observers, myself included, were less optimistic. Their group opponents, Colombia, Senegal, and Japan, were strong enough to challenge the Polish side and even prevent them from making it out of the group. 

Two games in and those naysayers were clearly on to something. Poland has already crashed out after being surprised by Senegal losing 2-1 in their first game and then being thrashed 3-0 by Colombia. 

There were high hopes for Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, the Bayern Munich goal scorer. Even if they failed to finish in the top two of their group, Lewandowski had enough quality and class to make things interesting. After all, he did score 16 goals in the qualifying campaign. 

But those expectations were left unfulfilled, as Lewangolski, the moniker used by FC Bayern fans, failed to find the net in his first two games. At times, it seemed the Poland captain wasn't even on the pitch, barely registering a call or shout from the commentators. You could argue the Polish offense was anemic, but a world class striker is a world class striker. He should find ways to inject himself into the game. See Ronaldo against Spain. 

It's a shame he won't play a bigger role this summer. I was hoping to see him work his magic, even if I didn't think they reach the next round. 

By being eliminated after the second match, he joins Mo Salah as another great goalscorer to exit with a whimper. At least Mo Salah could argue that his impact was muted, because he was left on the bench in the first game. And, after all, he does have a goal to his name, unlike Lewandowski.