Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Where Gio Reyna should transfer to as Borussia Dortmund minutes likely more limited with Jadon Sancho’s return

With the Bundesliga paused for the winter break, Borussia Dortmund have looked to bolster their squad with expected additions of Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho on loan and Ian Maatsen of Chelsea also joining on loan. While each of these moves could help Dortmund rise from fifth in the table into a top-four spot, they could also make the team stronger for the last 16 of the Champions League. However, moves that could be positive for Edin Terzic and the team could have the opposite effect on American Gio Reyna’s playing time.

Despite his strong performances during Dortmund’s title charge last season, Reyna has been frozen out, playing just 318 minutes in all competitions this season. Despite preferring to play as a No. 10, controlling play centrally, Reyna has been pushed to the wing for Dortmund because Marco Reus and Julian Brandt occupy those spaces. With Sancho joining an already crowded attacking corps of Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, and considering that Maatsen can also deputize on the wing, it’s hard to project how Reyna will get more playing time in the second half of the season with the Black and Yellow.

Prior to the season, reports came out that Dortmund would be willing to let Reyna move to another club if their price is met. With more attackers coming in, it seems like that could become a real possibility. But if Reyna were to move, what clubs would make the most sense?

It was a question posed to Jesse Marsch on the CBS Sports podcast Call it What you Want, and the former Leeds and RB Leipzig bossed mentioned Real Sociedad and Eintracht Frankfurt as ideal destinations for Reyna.

“He needs a team where he’s going to play — and play in Europe — and a team that plays intensive because Gio has a tendency to be a bit comfortable on the pitch,” Marsch said. “For his potential to grow, he needs to be a guy who covers ground … The two places, one would be Frankfurt … The place I’d really like to see him go is Real Sociedad. He’d be great in Spain, they have a great coach, [Imanol] Aguacil, they like to play with the ball, intensively against the ball, they’re dynamic … Gio would be a perfect fit.”  

Someone talented enough to play at the highest levels of the game despite being only 20, Marsch is right that Reyna’s destinations shouldn’t include clubs not involved in European play. Spain is a perfect destination if he wants to leave Germany, as the league allows creative players to express what they do best. One of the best players in the United States national team pool on the ball, Reyna needs to have it at his feet whenever possible. He has the ability to make magic happen with it by feeding other talented attackers.

It’s the kind of move that would help Reyna improve on when to pass versus when to shoot, as he won’t need to take everything upon himself by joining a top club. He’d also have appropriate coaching to grow as a soccer player and a person, as players who go to both Sociedad and Frankfurt are able to improve and move on to bigger and better things regularly. Sociedad is flying high after making the Champions League knockout stages, and Reyna could help provide more attacking power to keep their good run going.

Other clubs that could suit Reyna

Real Betis: After already adding an American in Johnny Cardoso, why not make it two? At Betis, Reyna still wouldn’t have a direct path into the starting XI, but he’d be under one of the best coaches in the world, Manuel Pellegrini. Pellegrini may be one of the most underrated managers in soccer at the moment, but he’s seen everything, won the Premier League, won the Copa Del Rey and has Betis currently in Europe while being within striking distance of a European spot in Spain. Away form has been a concern for the side, but Reyna’s directness can lead to more consistent play while ensuring that teams can’t key in on just Isco.

Isco would be the person blocking Reyna from actually playing as a No. 10, but it would be beneficial for Reyna to learn from the former Real Madrid man as they do have stylistic similarities. It would be a move that also helps Betis prepare for life after Isco, as due to age (31) and his injury history, that could become a reality at any time.

Bayer Leverkusen: Also with a player occupying Reyna’s favored position, it’s only a matter of time until Florian Wirtz is pried away from Leverkusen by a mega offer. Also 20, Wirtz enjoys being on the ball and Xabi Alonso has the team performing to the best of their abilities, leading the Bundesliga. Still in the Europa League, Alonso will need to prioritize the title versus cup competitions at some point and having two top quality no. 10s is what teams of their level need to compete on all fronts. 

Moving to a title contender, Reyna would not only have to fight for a space in the team, but if he can break into the XI, being involved in that tile charge will provide a tangible reward along with helping his personal development. Leverkusen is another club that does right by its young players which is something that should be taken into account in Reyna’s next move.

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