Jürgen Klopp was in running the show when Christian Pulisic first joined Borussia Dortmund. Now he manages Liverpool while Pulisic stands as one of Europe’s top young attacking talents. The resulting transfer links—the rumours and the speculation—are wholly inevitable.
And according to Bild, the player’s talent and the potential for a reunion between Klopp and Pulisic aren’t the only reasons to think the young attacker could end up at Anfield. The German paper claim that in this case, the club’s owners are as eager for the signing as the club’s manager is.
Liverpool, of course, are owned by Fenway Sports Group, an American consortium that also owns the Boston Red Sox. That fact is no secret and has often been noted when Pulisic—the United States’ best young talent and arguably already that nation’s best player—is linked with Liverpool.
Bild, though, are the first to turn it from subtext into a key, driving factor behind any potential transfer of the 18-year-old, believing the chance to have a player who could become the first true American star at Anfield for 10-15 years is going to motivate Liverpool to land Pulisic at any cost.
It’s a compelling enough idea, at least on the surface. Though the reality is that having a nation’s star player doesn’t actually do much from a marketing standpoint, and the idea of shirt sales funding transfers for all but the most Galactico or Galacticos is misguided at best.
After all costs, a club isn’t actually likely to see more than around 10% of any shirt sale as profit, meaning that even if 100,000 Americans snapped up Pulisic shirts over the five years of his first contract following a transfer, the club would be lucky to see around £750k in added profit from it.
Meanwhile, Liverpool already sell out when they tour the United States, and that nation’s fandom isn’t so large Pulisic’s presence would drive other major marketing opportunities. FSG might like to have him, and Liverpool might even pay a little more to get a deal done, but his nationality won’t be decisive.
If a deal is done, Klopp’s interest and Pulisic’s ability and potential as a player will be the decisive factors. His nationality would, for FSG, be a bonus. A bonus worth something, but certainly not worth doing a deal at any cost—or worth making Pulisic a priority if Klopp didn’t want him.
All of which leaves us about in the same place we were a day or week or month ago. Liverpool would by almost all accounts like to sign Christian Pulisic. Borussia Dortmund would by almost all accounts like to not sell him. So a transfer either may or may not happen. For football reasons.