Maurizio Sarri on Christian Pulisic Chelsea Signing: 'I Didn't Know Anything'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2019

Chelsea's team manager Maurizio Sarri, center, gives instructions during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road stadium in Watford, England on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said he was not aware the club were close to completing the signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund

The Blues confirmed the capture of the United States international on Wednesday, with Pulisic to return to the Bundesliga side on loan for the remainder of the campaign. 

Speaking after Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw by Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday, Sarri said he was left in the dark when it came to the acquisition of the 20-year-old, per football journalist Jonathan Tannenwald:

Jonathan Tannenwald @thegoalkeeper

Sarri continued: "The club asked my opinion about one month ago. My opinion was positive, and today I knew I have known that the deal is done, but I didn't know anything."

"I am not in charge of the market of course. I have to think of my matches, I have to play every three days, so I can only say my opinion to the club," Sarri added, per Tannenwald.

Sarri was also quizzed on whether he would have preferred the American to have arrived in January as opposed to the end of the campaign, especially following Willian's injury in the clash with Saints.

"It is very difficult to speak about the market or the deal of Pulisic," he said, per Nizaar Kinsella of Goal. "The board knows my opinion but I think that Willian's injury is not serious."

The Chelsea manager had more to say on the deal:

NBC Sports Soccer @NBCSportsSoccer

Maurizio Sarri said he was asked about and likes Christian Pulisic, but didn't know the transfer was happening until today. https://t.co/FQa4h3qr6T

Despite the curious comments made by Sarri on this high-profile transfer, Amadi Tidiane of Copa90 noted that the Italian coach made it clear he was an admirer of the player:

amadí @amadoit__

to post this without clarifying that he immediately follows up that statement with 'i was asked about him one month ago and my opinion was positive' while also knowing full well that Sarri does everything he can to avoid taking a role in transfers is.. well.. https://t.co/Z8UFiNfw9Y

Chelsea's recruitment has been intriguing to track as of late, as in the summer you sense the arrival of Jorginho was something Sarri was heavily involved in.

The style of football the manager tries to implement is so dependant on a midfielder with technical quality operating in front of the back four, something Jorginho did so well working under the Chelsea boss at Napoli.

There are other deals which the coach clearly isn't too involved in, though, and Pulisic appears to be one. Sports statistician Paul Carr said he isn't concerned by the distance between recruitment and coaching:

Paul Carr @PaulCarr

I don't think Sarri's quote is as worrisome as others do (yet!). Separation of manager/TD duties isn't necessarily a problem, and Sarri gave Pulisic a thumbs-up. Maybe I'm being optimistic. https://t.co/pP68iFhbUL

Speaking to the club's official website, Blues director Marina Granovskaia described the United States tyro as "one of Europe’s most sought-after young players" who has "the potential to become an important Chelsea player for many years to come."

With that in mind, it's not a huge surprise that Chelsea—a club with a reputation for having a high turnover of managers—have brought in a player who they can build their attack around in the long term, independent of what the head coach may think.


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