Manchester United has expressed interest in signing United States midfielder Christian Pulisic from Germany’s Borussia Dortmund this summer, according to multiple reports, potentially pitting the club against Premier League rival Liverpool in a battle for the 19-year-old.
Pulisic has been on Liverpool’s radar for more than a year, with head coach Jurgen Klopp hoping to lure the teenager from his former club. Klopp, who coached Dortmund from 2008-15, oversaw Pulisic’s early development before taking the Liverpool job in October 2016, eight months into the American’s tenure in Germany.
Both clubs view the prospect of signing the rising American star as a slam dunk, given the scoring threat he would provide on the field and the marketing value off it. Pulisic has quickly grown into his role as the face of the next generation of U.S. Soccer, and United or Liverpool would hope to tap into that popularity should either of them win him over.
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of a transfer is the importance Pulisic places on playing time, which he’s gradually earned with Dortmund since joining the first team in January 2016.
Pulisic has played in all 16 games (14 starts) for Dortmund this season in the Bundesliga, scoring three goals and recording one assist. He has also started four of five games in the Champions League.
“I am playing every week in the Bundsliga, in the Champions League, against top teams,” Pulisic told The Independent in November. “When you do that every week, you are going to improve. When you play against the best players, you’re going to grow. I’m learning a lot: tactically, technically, gaining strength.”
Pulisic’s development showed last year in international competition, in which he led the U.S. men’s national team with six goals and four assists in nine games started. Despite Pulisic’s production, which earned him U.S. Male Player of the Year honors, the U.S. failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Before the next World Cup rolls around, Pulisic could get a taste of winning pedigree with a team like Manchester United, the most successful club in Premier League history and one Pulisic has said he rooted for as a child.
“I was a big Manchester United fan when I was younger, so I loved to watch Wayne Rooney,” he told ESPN in 2016, referring to the former United star. “I think his passion for the game is something you don’t see much in players. That’s what I loved about him.”