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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Nottingham Forest in Gio Reyna loan talks with Borussia Dortmund

Nottingham Forest are in talks with Borussia Dortmund to sign USMNT international Gio Reyna on loan until the end of the season.

Forest are aiming to include a purchase option and are pushing hard to get the deal done. An agreement is not far off but there are still elements that need to be sorted.

Reyna’s Dortmund contract expires in June 2025 and the versatile attacker signed with super agent Jorge Mendes in December, shortly before the transfer window opened.

Reyna has started just twice for the German club this season, making 11 further appearances as a substitute.

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.

Reyna returned to the USMNT set-up during October’s international break following his run of injuries and falling out with head coach Gregg Berhalter. The U.S. has two major tournaments on the horizon in the next three years, with 2024 Copa America taking place this summer before the U.S. co-hosts the 2026 World Cup.

Reyna moved to Dortmund’s academy from New York City in 2019 and broke into the senior side the following year. He was part of the Dortmund side that won the 2020-21 DFB-Pokal.

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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