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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Nottingham Forest complete Gio Reyna loan signing from Borussia Dortmund

Nottingham Forest have confirmed the signing of USMNT international Gio Reyna on loan until the end of the season.

Reyna joins Forest from Borussia Dortmund, where he has made only two Bundesliga starts this campaign. An option to buy was discussed as part of the deal, but there is not one in the final loan agreement.

The Athletic reported last week that Forest were in talks with Dortmund to sign Reyna on a temporary deal, with the versatile forward agreeing a deal to join the Premier League side earlier on Wednesday.

Reyna’s Dortmund contract had been due to expire in June 2025 but a one-year extension was announced by the German club upon the loan deal going through. He signed with super agent Jorge Mendes in December, shortly before the January transfer window opened.

The 21-year-old missed the opening month of the season through injury and has featured just 13 times in all competitions since his return in September.

Forest are 16th in the Premier League. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side return to action on Sunday with a trip to Bournemouth.

Why Reyna needs a move away

Analysis by Paul Tenorio, USMNT correspondent

A move to Forest will be a welcome one for Reyna, who is in desperate need of more playing time. Through much of his young career, injuries have been what has limited Reyna’s time on the field and his impact at Dortmund. He has long been considered a rising star, otherwise.

But after fracturing his leg during the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final against Canada last June and returning to training in late August, Reyna has struggled to carve out much of a role with Dortmund. He has made just 10 appearances this season in the Bundesliga with one start, one appearance in the DFB-Pokal and two in the Champions League. This comes after playing in 22 Bundesliga games last year, with seven goals and two assists.

Reyna moved on from his agency, Wasserman, and made it clear he was open to a move away from Dortmund in this window. He hired Mendes as he looked to find more consistent time on the field as he looks to grow in his career — and into a bigger role with the national team.

What can Forest expect from him?

Analysis by Paul Tenorio, USMNT correspondent

Reyna’s role on the field has been changing, at least with the U.S., over the last year.

In the previous World Cup qualifying cycle, Reyna played exclusively as a winger, albeit one who came into the pockets to find the ball and try to create opportunities in and around the box. After the World Cup controversy in 2022 in Qatar, Reyna has found a new role with this U.S. team, playing as a No 10 in more of a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Reyna has long said he feels most comfortable in a central role, and from that attacking midfield spot he’s more able to play to his strengths, which is playmaking and making dangerous passes in the final third. He has shown he’s a strong finisher, as well, but often seems as if he prefers to be a facilitator looking to make the final pass.

Reyna has been asked to work more defensively, and he’s seemed eager to prove he can do just that when with the U.S. The biggest challenge has been finding consistent playing time, and the hope is that he can shake the injury issues and now find a team where he can feature.

Why are Forest going for Reyna?

Analysis by Paul Taylor, Nottingham Forest correspondent

The signing of Reyna would make perfect sense, as he would strengthen in two areas of the pitch where Forest have been short of options.

Anthony Elanga has made a hugely positive impact since joining from Manchester United and Callum Hudson-Odoi, a summer arrival from Chelsea, has also had plenty of promising moments. But Forest do lack cover for the duo in wide positions.

But, as well as being able to operate as a winger, Reyna can also operate in a central attacking role. Morgan Gibbs-White has established himself as one of Forest’s most influential players in that No 10 role. But the Englishman’s absence has also been keenly felt during times when he has been sidelined with injury.

If a deal can be agreed to make Reyna’s loan move permanent further down the line, at 21 years old — and armed with a reputation as one of the most promising players to play for the USMNT in some time — he would also fit into Forest’s desire to sign young players who will only improve, with the benefit of game time with them in the Premier League.

 

(Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images)



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