Signing eight players in a single transfer window is always exciting. Even with the amount of key players who departed Dortmund last season, the new faces that are coming in have everyone confident and aching for the new season to begin.
But there was an elephant in the room as each new signing was announced over the summer. A worry began to creep into the back of my mind. Where does all this addition leave Christian Pulisic?
The 17-year-old American prodigy from Hershey, Pennsylvania burst onto the scene last year when Thomas Tuchel started including him in his senior squad after the winter break. Eventually Pulisic started seeing the field and showing to the world what Tuchel had seen that made him promote a kid to the senior team.
He became the youngest non-German to score a Bundesliga goal when he got his first against in April against Hamburg. Only six days later he tallied another, this time against Stuttgart.
Christian Pulisic scores his 2nd career goal one week after his 1st, putting Borussia Dortmund up 2-0 in Stuttgart. https://t.co/74lc2zjsWm— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) April 23, 2016
Sometimes we Americans are guilty of over-hyping or simply over-rating prospects, but his performance at the senior level for BVB so far makes it tough to deny his potential.
Enter the new signings.
Ousmane Dembele also has a lot of potential. He's been lighting up preseason, and is deservedly already ahead of Pulisic on the depth chart. Emre Mor does too. And then we've got wingers who are already established players in the Bundesliga in Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle.
Not everyone can start, but Dortmund possibly going far in three competitions means that rotation will be necessary throughout the season, and I honestly don't think Pulisic is outside the rotation. The Europa League was fun, but playing in the Champions League takes more out of a team on a weekly basis. This could mean even more time in the Bundesliga for Christian.
Injury-wise BVB didn't have the worst season last year, but injuries are still very much an unavoidable part of the game. We can hope for otherwise but it's to be expected that the squad suffers a few throughout the season. This is why having this type of depth is so nice, especially on the wing where sometimes the only way for a defender to stop a faster player is to hack them down.
Even if Christian does have to play with the U-19s for a bit, is that the worst thing in the world? He only made nine appearances in the Bundesliga last year, I don't think anyone is expecting that number to shoot up into the twenties or thirties.
I'd even argue that a lot of the most important parts of Pulisic's development this year aren't going to be happening on game-days. We know he has the skill, but it would really help if he bulked up a little bit. Obviously he's still growing, but taking that next step on-the-field may be a result of putting on a bit of strength off-the-field.
Dortmund certainly have the facilities for progress to be made in this area. Remember, Christian has only been at Dortmund for 1.5 years. More time under their coaching and training staff can only mean good things.
He'll still only be turning 18 in September, but him being around the first team for so much of last season says a lot. As does the way Tuchel and others at the club speak of him.
Being American also gives him a unique advantage here. His rise at Dortmund will give the club tremendous exposure in the United States, a massive market that many clubs in Europe desperately try to tap into with preseason tours and club partnerships. I guarantee the higher-ups at BVB see him as a very valuable prospect for footballing and monetary reasons.
But football should come first, and that's no problem for Pulisic. He contributed to the team last year, and I'm confident that he'll be contributing again this year. He already has with a goal in preseason against Manchester City.
Besides, all the club really has to do to keep him happy is to get him Justin Bieber tickets.