“He’s one of our own.”
It’s a chant heard at Stamford Bridge in praise of players. Now American Chelsea fans are set to sing it about Christian Pulisic.
It is hard to overstate what a superb signing it is for Blues supporters on this side of the Atlantic. Even taking away the nationality factor, the 20-year-old remain a sparkling recruit. He is the tenth most-expensive signing by an English team in history and it is the third-highest transfer fee the club has ever splashed out.
The attacking midfielder, who hails from Hershey, Pennsylvania, has been starring for the US national side for a couple of years now. His capture will energise and excite Chelsea fans who turn up week in, week out, at their local pub to watch the Blues, dragging themselves bleary-eyed out of bed before dawn for kick-offs as early as 4.30am over on the west coast.
And consider the potential growth of our fan base in the States. The next generation who grow up playing the ever-increasingly popular sport will see a ‘local’ hero on TV every week, turning out for the club who have won more trophies than any of their rivals in recent times. Our support will boom over here.
On the business end, the club has the potential to increase shirt sales and expand the marketplace for merchandise, important in today’s game: The more money we make, the more money we have to attract the best talent in the world.
But more than that, there is an anticipation among our American followers, an intangible and immeasurable ‘feel good factor’ that comes when you support a team on the other side of the world who sign a player from your nation.
The day it was announced I woke to a barrage of texts from football fans. Most were not Chelsea supporters, but all were ecstatic that an elite Premier League side had signed the USA playmaker.
In my local football pub, the Chelsea supporters were giddy. For them, and the rest of the loyal Blues fans across the country, it’s going to be a long six months of waiting until we see him in our shirt.
The USA has an ever-expanding appetite for soccer and mark my words, this could turn out to be a seismic signing.
From one American Blue to another, welcome to Stamford Bridge, Christian.