'He's got the X-Factor' – Chelsea new-boy Pulisic backed to light up Premier League

Speaking exclusively to Goal, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney tipped the American winger for big things in England

Christian Pulisic has been backed to light up the Premier League at Chelsea.

Thomas Delaney, Pulisic’s former team-mate at Borussia Dortmund, believes the American will bring an “X-Factor” to England following his £58million ($71m/€63m) switch to Stamford Bridge.

Pulisic is set to make his competitive debut for Chelsea at Manchester United on Sunday, and has been impressive for Frank Lampard’s side during pre-season.

And speaking exclusively to Goal, Dortmund midfielder Delaney says the “amazing” 20-year-old can make a big impact on English football.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure he will be a success,” Delaney said. “He’s got big shoes to fill in terms of Eden Hazard, of course, but as far as I know him, he’s a hungry player with a high level, and it seems like he has the support from the manager and the club, which every player needs. 

“This guy can pull things out of the hat at any time, which is always a great skill to have. I think the Premier League will enjoy him.”

Pulisic’s move to Chelsea was set up back in January, with the Bundesliga runners-up moving swiftly and decisively to reinvest and reshape their squad. 

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Dortmund have signed attacking talents such as Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard, while strengthening their defence with the likes of Nico Schulz, Achraf Hakimi and the returning Mats Hummels. 

They started their season with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup, and Delaney believes they can be stronger despite Pulisic’s departure.

“Christian is an amazing player and he did well for us,” he said. “He had a difficult last half-year I think, because he’d already signed for Chelsea. We will miss him, because he has that X-factor. I don’t know too many players that can get away from three defenders like him.

“But we have a wider squad now, with some big quality and the hope now is that we are able to cope when players are out, and still have that quality in the team.”

Delaney is particularly enthused by the return of Hummels, a double Bundesliga winner with Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp, who was brought back from Bayern in the summer.

“Just the presence alone is something big,” he said. “I have played against him many times, and his expression is just that of a winner. He wears himself very, very well on the pitch, and that’s contagious, it spreads to the other players. 

“And in terms of his qualities as a footballer, we don’t need to say anything about that. He’s a very good signing for us.”

Delaney added: “When we hit our top level, we play very decent football. But we want to be more stable. The people want to see offensive football, of course, and we enjoy playing that way, but last season we had some problems with keeping clean sheets. 

“We didn’t let in many goals, but if you want to be champions then you have to be very sharp in that department. In that regard, Mats is a big signing.”

Dortmund get their league season underway next Saturday with a home game against Augsburg, and will be looking to go one better than last season, when they led the table for much of the season only to be overhauled by Bayern in the latter stages. 

Delaney, too, believes they can improve in Europe too. Dortmund were beaten by Tottenham in the last 16 of the Champions League.

“We weren’t happy with what we did in Europe last year,” he said. “We lost it all in 20 minutes in London, really. We want to take the next step this season and keep competing in the Bundesliga as well, that’s the target.

 “The new players have been very good. Most of them have already played in the Bundesliga before, of course, so they know us and we know them, which is always beneficial. 

“A lot of people know how we want to play football, the style we have, and we have signed some top players. They have all settled in well and we’ve enjoyed welcoming them into the squad.

“We want to improve. Of course it’s nice to play every game, but we need that competition. We need new energy in the team, new skills, because we want to improve on last season. We did good last season, but not good enough.”

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