As the winter transfer window is drawing to a close in fewer than 72 hours, there’s quite an important player stuck in limbo in Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund. The 21-year-old American has struggled for playing time under manager Edin Terzic this season but a move out of Germany hasn’t materialized. Linked to clubs such as Nottingham Forest, Sevilla, Marseille and now Fiorentina, destinations seem to be lining up but not ones that are the right place for him to go to long term.
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With the Copa America looming this summer for the United States men’s national team, a tournament during which Reyna should be a critical member of the team, what he does during this window will not only have a major impact on his future but also potentially for the national team. It seemed like Reyna would be set to leave Dortmund but after their victory over VLF Bochum, the door was left open for Reyna to stay.
“Gio is a fantastic player. Of course, he’s not happy when he’s not playing,” Terzic said after the match. “You could see that Gio is capable of influencing the game from the bench. He was very confident on the ball, managed to create a few dangerous situations, but was a bit unlucky with his finishing in one or two situations.
“I expect him to be available to me on Friday, [after the transfer deadline day].” Tezic continued to say. “I haven’t heard anything else. Gio is under contract, Gio is our player and did well when he came on today.”
During what has been an uneventful transfer window so far, this transfer could be one of the more significant deals to go through considering the impact on the USMNT during the summer.
Interest for the midfielder has been lower than expected with relegation-threatened clubs in England and Spain interested alongside midtable sides in France and Italy. Reyna’s best chance for European soccer is at Dortmund where the Black and Yellow have qualified for the last 16 of Champions League. Even if he were to move, none of these teams except maybe Sevilla would have an opening for him to be a regular starter but they’re also only one point above the drop zone in Spain. Even on oan to the club, that would be a significant risk for Reyna’s career to have relegation to the second division on his resume after a season during which he barely played soccer.
For the USMNT to be at their best, they need a Reyna who is playing soccer at a high level regularly and if the four teams mentioned are his only options along with staying at Dortmund, there is a chance that reassessing his options during the summer with the Black and Yellow is the best move to make.
With the addition of Jadon Sancho returning from Manchester United to the Signal Iduna Park, Reyna has been squeezed for playing time but he has also now appeared in six consecutive league matches for Dortmund. While it’s not as consistent as if Reyna were starting matches, it is a significant improvement after only appearing in five of the prior nine matches.
It would be far from optimal but when Champions League returns for Dortmund, Reyna could have a shot at starting league matches due to rotation to keep Sancho, Marco Reus, and Julian Brandt fresh for European soccer. Performing in those cameos along with leading the USMNT during the summer would be enough for Reyna to be in a better position at a July move when teams around the world have more money to spend and a whole preseason to integrate him. It’s a long game when it comes to transfer negotiations and even if it ends up being only the same clubs interested in Reyna, it’s better than a knee-jerk transfer right now to suboptimal options.