As a part of the exciting batch of American prospects to take over the Bundesliga, there was something exhilarating about Gio Reyna. When he broke through at Dortmund, it was a combination of his playmaking and dribbling that made him stand out. Now, after a year of stagnation, Reyna has a chance to rebuild his promise in Nottingham.

The son of American soccer royalty, high expectations followed the youngster across the Atlantic. After Pulisic moved to Chelsea, Reyna became the next American touted to be the greatest American player Europe had seen.

Early into his Dortmund career, the American proved to be a key part in a Dortmund side that won one cup and threatened Bayern. Playing either through the middle or on the wings, his versatility allowed him to get plenty of quality minutes with elite players. However, injuries and a disaster of a World Cup, left him desperately wanting a move out of Germany.

Photo: Imago

Only 21, clubs lined up to acquire the creative force on loan. Clubs like Fiornetina and Marseille offered Reyna an opportunity to develop while playing exciting football. However, he spurned them all to  play for a dull side fighting off relegation.

In a rather dull January window,  Reyna’s move to Forest made waves for what is a puzzling move. Surly, if he wanted to truly reach the next level, there had to be better chances.

The son of one of America’s early soccer stars and a collegiate star, Reyna came up with the background that few in the American soccer set up had. Dortmund saw the potential they could bring out  in him and brought him over when he was still only 17.

One of  the reasons why Dortmund was so attracted to his game was how different it was from other “typical” American players. Molded by the modern game, Reyna floated across the forward line and was able to threaten through creating for others or  finishing chances off. If Pulisic was the first model, Reyna was the refined one, ready for mass distribution.

Like many of Dortmund’s bright stars that could one day command hefty fees, the American debuted as soon as he was ready. In his first full season, Dortmund won the Dfb Pokal, with Reyna becoming an important piece to the side. However, 2022/23 would be the season where he truly broke out, helping push Dortmund to almost winning the Bundesliga.

Photo: Getty

Reyna’s 2022/23, from a statistical point of view, is like discovering a prospect out of nowhere. Elite at almost everything, Reyna was knocking on the door of  Europe’s elite.

Amongst Eruope’s leaders at his position, Reyna was deadly in every facet of the attack. Finishing in the 99th percentile of non-penalty goals and 74th for shot-creating actions, Reyna made the offense hum. Even if he was mostly coming off the bench, these numbers are nothing to scoff at.

His impact, statistically, compared him to the likes of Thomas Müller and Bayern’s gem Jamal Musiala. Even if he wasn’t technically on their level, this season happened at the age of 20, meaning it could only get better. In a side featuring both Bellingham as the key piece, it was easy to forget about Reyna, but without him, that side doesn’t challenge Bayern.

From the prodigal son of US soccer to helping push Dortmund to title contention, Reyna came out of the 2022/23 season as one of Europe’s brightest prospects. A jump to a larger club would have  made plenty of sense at this point, but he remained at Dortmund looking to take over for Bellingham.

As his desire to leave Germany grew, clubs competing near the top six of most leagues seemed destined to call for Reyna. These clubs, for the most part,played a brand of football that matched his style and offered him a chance to compete at a high level.

Fiorentina and Reyna seemed to be a match made in heaven. The historic club hovered just around the final European spots, while having one of the best attacks in the league. Vincenzo Italiano’s side are one of the best to watch in Europe.

Combining one of the best shot creating offenses inItaly with the second highest possession average in the league,  it’s a side meant for attackers. Reyna’s fit in this side would have been perfect. Floating across the pitch and being on the end of chances or creating them,it’s a shame he’s not in Italy currently.

Photo: Nottingham Forest

For whatever reason, Reyna and his team turned down these offers to make a journey to the Prem. There are Prem sides that would have been perfect for the American, but Forest just aren’t.

Two points off the relegation zone, Forest are flirting with relegation. While not truly terrible, their offense hovers below league average. Having an offense that revolves around an aging Chris Wood is asking for trouble.

Quite literally the polar opposite to Fiorentina, Nottingham struggles to keep possession, preferring to attack on the counter and throw it to a forward. Fortunately for Reyna, Nuno Espírito Santo’s system does offer him the  chance to play either up the middle or on the wings. However, don’t expect him to create and score like in 22/23.
Nottingham could be the place where Reyna’s career comes back together, but it feels like a severe step down. Nothing  about this move really makes sense, but for this is a fine gamble for Nottingham.

At one point, Reyna promised to be the most technically gifted player the  US set had seen. Dominatt for a great Dortmund side, the world seemed to be at his feet. Now, he’ll be rebuilding his career at a place no one could have ever expected.


Featured image: ESPN

Comments are closed.

Check Also

Changing of the Guard

In 2003, Chelsea rewrote the Premier League’s DNA. Roman Abramovich’s takeover…