Chelsea have completed the £58million signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund and installed their contingency plan in case Eden Hazard leaves in the summer and the Premier League side get hit with a transfer ban from FIFA.
USA international Pulisic will spend the rest of the season at Dortmund before making the switch by which time Hazard have only 12 months remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were determined to strike early for Pulisic to beat competition from rivals, including Liverpool and Arsenal, and have paid a premium on the price.
Only goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Alvaro Morata have cost the club more and this is a large fee for a young player with a contract due to expire at the end of next season.
Pulisic can operate as a wide attacker in Maurizio Sarri’s style and is at an age with plenty of scope to develop and improve.
We are delighted to have signed one of Europe’s most sought-after young players,’ said Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.
‘Christian has shown his quality during a fantastic spell in Germany and at just 20 we believe he has the potential to become an important Chelsea player for many years to come.’
Pulisic has been forced out of the team in recent weeks by the emergence of England international Jadon Sancho.’
It was always Christian’s dream to play in the Premier League,’ said Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc.
‘That certainly has to do with his American background, and as a result we were unable to extend his contract. Against this background, we have decided to accept an extremely lucrative bid by Chelsea, given the low contract maturity.’
Zorc added: ‘I am sure in the coming months he will do everything in his power to bring his high quality to the team and to achieve his sporting goals with his team-mates Borussia Dortmund.’
After confirmation of the move, the 20-year-old midfielder said: ‘
In summer I move on to Chelsea and to a new competition, the English Premier League. 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.’
The emergence of Sancho at Dortmund this season has seen Pulisic’s opportunities limited at times and with his contract winding down a move to the Premier League was inevitable.
He has been at the club since the age of 16 and with the club on course to win their first Bundesliga title since 2011-12, it is important for them to retain Pulisic, at least until the end of the current campaign.
There had been talk of a price in the region of £70m previously, but that has come down with the prospect of losing him for nothing in 2020.