Chelsea sign Pulisic from Dortmund for €64m, loan U.S. star back until summer
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 in the summer.
ESPN FC reported on Saturday that Chelsea made a bid of more than £50m for Pulisic, who had been linked with Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich, among others, in an effort to get the deal completed ahead of their rivals.
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.
Chelsea originally contacted Dortmund about a transfer last summer, but the German club's unwillingness to sell, especially midway through a campaign, meant that a deal was eventually agreed for the 20-year-old to move at the end of the campaign.
Pulisic openly told Dortmund he wanted to leave and not sign a contract extension some time ago, and there was no appetite from the player or club for a drawn-out saga. He never threatened to run down his contract, which was set to expire in 2020, and said he was grateful to Dortmund for giving him a chance.
"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 told ESPN FC that the decision to join Chelsea in the summer, rather than in January, was Pulisic's to give him the best chance of impressing Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri during a full preseason rather than half of a regular season.
ESPN FC also was told that the addition of Pulisic is independent of speculation over the futures of Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi because Chelsea needs to provide alternative options to Pedro and Willian, who are in their 30s.
"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.
"Christian Pulisic has a flawless character. I am sure he 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 four more in 18 appearances but last had a hand in a BVB goal in a cup match on Oct. 31.
Pulisic has made 115 competitive appearances for Dortmund, scoring 15 goals and setting up 24.
ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein, Liam Twomey and Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.