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Gio Reyna: The USMNT star’s journey to reverse a declining market value during his loan spell at Nottingham Forest.

Gio Reyna’s move to Nottingham Forest on loan in January was aimed at revitalizing a career that had hit a roadblock at Borussia Dortmund. However, with only 82 minutes of Premier League action in two months, the 21-year-old American playmaker’s plans haven’t unfolded as expected.

Reyna had several options during the mid-season transfer window, with clubs like Sevilla in LaLiga and Marseille in Ligue 1 vying for his signature. Opting to join Nottingham Forest, a club embroiled in a relegation battle and facing controversies surrounding financial mismanagement, was a surprising decision.

The main challenge for Reyna at Forest is the presence of Morgan Gibbs-White, a player with a similar profile to the USMNT youngster. Forest invested heavily in Gibbs-White, paying a club-record fee of £25 million plus up to £17 million in potential add-ons, when they signed him from Wolves in 2022. The 24-year-old was even voted the club’s Player of the Year last season.

Despite Nottingham Forest’s challenges, Gibbs-White has continued to shine as the team’s standout player this season, with four goals and seven assists in the Premier League. Consequently, Reyna has seen limited opportunities since his arrival. His preferred position, the central attacking midfield role (No. 10), is occupied by Gibbs-White, who is unlikely to be displaced barring injury.

Reyna has showcased his talent most prominently at the international level. In his last six appearances for Gregg Berhalter’s United States team since October of last year, he has contributed four goals and two assists.

During the recent international break, Reyna played a crucial role in the success of the USMNT. In the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final against Jamaica, he provided two late assists for Haji Wright to score, securing a victory for the team. In the final against Mexico, Reyna found the net himself in a 2-0 win.

 

Of particular significance is Reyna’s performance in the final, which offers hope for a brighter end to the season at Nottingham Forest. Operating in a slightly deeper position than his usual No. 10 role, he shared creative midfield duties with Juventus star Weston McKennie, who also scored in the match.

Adapting to a similar role at Forest could be pivotal for Reyna’s success at the City Ground. This adjustment would enable him to play alongside Gibbs-White rather than competing directly for the same position, thus providing a greater degree of creativity and control.

 

The potential benefits of this shift were evident in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. Reyna, introduced as a substitute with half an hour remaining, swiftly combined with Gibbs-White in the build-up to Chris Wood’s headed equalizer. This collaborative play showcases the potential synergy between the two midfielders.

Nuno praised Reyna’s impact in the post-match analysis of his cameo, emphasizing the midfielder’s ability to control possession and contribute to the team’s performance. However, Reyna’s playing time in the subsequent match against Fulham was limited to just 13 minutes off the bench, despite Nuno’s expectation of continued contributions.

 

Unfortunately for Reyna, his loan spell at Forest hasn’t gone as planned. BILD reports that Dortmund had hoped Reyna would excel at Forest, thereby increasing his market value for a potential summer transfer. However, Reyna’s lack of significant impact during his time at the City Ground may have led to a decline in his potential price tag, thwarting Dortmund’s transfer strategy.

As Reyna enters the final stretch of the season with seven league games remaining, he confronts a pivotal period in his young career. Nottingham Forest may not be inclined to make his loan move permanent at the end of the season, and Dortmund is unlikely to receive substantial offers for the 21-year-old given his current performance.

With his contract at the Bundesliga club not expiring until 2026, Reyna’s immediate future options seem restricted. Another season of limited playing time could significantly diminish his chances of featuring prominently in Berhalter’s plans for the World Cup on home soil in two years.

 

While it would be exaggerated to claim that Reyna has seven games to salvage his career – he is still young and talented – there is undoubtedly more at stake for him in the final weeks of the season than anticipated. Alongside Forest’s battle against relegation, Reyna’s own trajectory is under scrutiny.

Written by schooleiwa

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