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Why is Gio Reyna signing for Nottingham Forest? Former Ronaldo agent holds key to USMNT star’s transfer from Dortmund

Gio Reyna has been restricted to 14 appearances in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund this season, with only two of those coming from the start.

As the 2024 Copa America on home soil looms, it’s clear something has to give for the 21-year-old attacking midfielder.

A link to Real Sociedad, who have joined Dortmund in the Champions League Round of 16, stood as an intriguing option for a player of unquestionable talent.

However, it turns out Reyna is set to follow in the footsteps of his father Claudio by featuring in the Premier League.

Nottingham Forest are on the verge of securing the signing of the USMNT star, initially on loan until the end of the season but with a reported option to make the move permanent. He could make his debut as soon as Sunday’s league game away to Bournemouth, and Forest fans will be hoping he can hit the ground running given their team’s battle against relegation: they are just two points outside the bottom three in the table after 22 matches.

MORE: English Premier League table 2023/24: Updated EPL standings

Why is Gio Reyna signing for Nottingham Forest?

On January 24, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano posted on X to claim Reyna had decided upon relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest as his next destination. A week later, Romano reported Reyna was on his way to England for medical tests.

Forest are set to cover Reyna’s weekly salary of £41,137 (€48,077/$52,321, as per Capology) for the duration of his loan stay until the end of the season. It is unclear at this stage whether the deal contains an option to buy, but The Athletic claimed such a clause has been discussed between Forest and Dortmund.

The appeal of bringing in an established international with his best years still ahead of him is obvious for Forest, who are two points above the relegation zone after Nuno Espirito Santo succeeded the popular Steve Cooper as head coach.

However, Forest’s off-field context makes this transfer a faintly baffling one. The Midlands club, along with Everton, were charged with breaking the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules in January.

Forest’s case will now be heard by an independent commission. Going through the same process and facing similar charges, Everton were docked 10 points on account of their filing from last season.

The move for Reyna, along with a mooted swoop for Sporting CP teenager Rodrigo Ribeiro and a new goalkeeper, suggest Forest are either very confident in their case with regards to mitigation or they feel an urgent need to power away from the relegation zone to render any potential points deduction moot.

A 2-1 home defeat to title-chasing Arsenal on January 30 left Forest 16th, precariously perched just a couple of places above the final relegation spot. Incidentally, Everton occupy that at present.

MORE: What are Premier League Profit and Sustainability Rules? Everton, Nottingham Forest accused of breaking English financial fair play rules

Former Ronaldo agent holds key to Reyna’s Forest transfer

Agents and their network of contacts hold the key to most transfers, but rarely more overtly than in this instance.

As reported by Transfermarkt, Reyna left the Wasserman agency to joint Gestifute in January, the company fronted by super agent Jorge Mendes.

Mendes counted Cristiano Ronaldo as the most lucrative name on his books before the pair ended their long-term partnership in 2023, but he also has the ear of Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis.

His influence at the City Ground has only increased since Cooper was replaced as head coach by Nuno, a long-time Mendes client.

Where will Gio Reyna play for Nottingham Forest?

We have to assume Mendes’ influence upon this deal has been considerable because Forest do not appear to have an immediate need in the attacking midfield positions where Reyna thrives.

The pursuit of a goalkeeper is understandable given the struggles of Reyna’s USMNT colleague Matt Turner, but some of Forest’s best performers — especially since Nuno took charge — have excelled in the attacking trident behind top scorer Chris Wood.

Morgan Gibbs-White plays in the No. 10 position and the former England Under-21 star has been Forest’s most effective player since their return to the Premier League last season.

Morgan Gibbs-White vs Man United 12302023

On the wings, former Chelsea standout Callum Hudson-Odoi and ex-Manchester United youngster Anthony Elanga have proved to be shrewd acquisitions.

Versatile Argentine midfielder Nicolas Dominguez has also weighed in with some impressive displays and joined Gibbs-White on the scoresheet in the 2-1 December victory over Manchester United.

Forest have lost back-to-back games since and the hope will be that Reyna’s dusting of star quality can elevate Nuno’s team once more, even if it is not immediately clear where he fits or how they will afford him.

Jorge Mendes tends to find a way.

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