Having started only once in the Bundesliga this season for Borussia Dortmund and eager for regular playing time, Giovanni Reyna jumped at the chance to join Nottingham Forest in January.
Signing on loan with no option to buy, the versatile attacker’s an ideal addition for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who were determined to bolster their attacking midfield options both wide and centrally.
While he prefers operating infield, the skillful American more than holds his own as a winger, where his skills, smarts and awareness ensure he’s a real handful.
“He’s another offensive option. He’s a very good player with a lot of potential. He can play in high or wide areas, he can play central, so he can give us the versatility that we need,” explained Nuno.
Although he’s had his fair share of injury struggles during his career, if he can stay healthy, his creativity, playmaking qualities and vision will be a huge boost to relegation-threatened Forest.
Such a wizard with the ball at his feet and able to engineer moments of genius frequently to unlock backlines with his dribbling and passing, watching him weave his magic will be a nice source of entertainment for the Forest fans.
Blessed with a superb first touch and elite ball control, this affords him a solid foundation from which to cause danger using his elusive feints, wicked twists and turns and handy repertoire of skill manoeuvres.
Great at drawing opponents to free up others, very resistant to pressure to still calmly execute his actions, attentive to incoming foes and knowing how to adjust his body shape to protect the ball or go against the grain of the harrying, this all adds to his ball carrying prowess.
Capable of stamping his mark in confined zones, when 1v1 or with space to surge into, the technically gifted USMNT star will be keen to strut his stuff as soon as possible.
A real game-changer with his passing both from open play and set pieces, this feature of his game will have been another key reason why Forest wanted to secure his services. Able to spot and make passes very few can, Reyna surveys his options coherently before typically making the right calls whether to fire through balls in behind, hit crisp line breaking passes or whip in slick crosses and cutbacks.
Weighting his passes nicely, great at progressing the ball from deeper and very good at engaging in intricate combination play, extra upside can definitely be extracted from his aptitude at the above, as his new teammates should relish his silver service.
Tying everything together with his intelligent movement that sees him shrewdly identify vacant spaces and exploit them, there’s plenty to get excited about here. Quick to spot open passing lanes, if defenders are preoccupied, where his teammates are and then knowing what he’ll do once he inherits the ball, Reyna’s a challenging foe to keep tabs on.
Tactical aware due to his scanning and boasting a strong understanding of space, it’s easy to see why he prefers playing as a 10, for this superbly caters to his skill set and positional nous to receive in advantageous zones between the lines and in the half spaces.
Terrific at dynamically jetting into space so he can receive possession in a forward facing posture to keep charging ahead to make the most of his momentum ascendancy over back-to-goal defenders, this is also a crucial component towards his success.
Proficient at embarking on calculated runs in behind and into the box as well, expect him to frequently provide quality options for teammates to use his tidy finishing to convert chances.
Possessing a fine knowledge of when positional and numerical superiorities can be achieved to help beat pressing setups, this elevates his nuisance and how he performs best when granted freedom to connect and inject impetus into offensive passages.
Having worked under many different managers over the years with different ideas, this should see him adapt to both Nuno’s attacking and defensive plans reasonably comfortably.
In terms of the latter, and the fact he’s so familiar with pressing strategies and stopping principles should mean he’ll notably slot smoothly into Nuno’s defined demands in this compartment.
Set to wear the 20 jersey and ready to impact from the off, it’ll be fascinating how the Sunderland-born sensation will adapt to the demands of the Premier League.
Ready to make the most of this change of scenery for the next four or so months and wanting to attack the Premier League challenge full on, the move is a sensible one for both parties.
With the potential to be a huge weapon in their quest for survival, the main determining factor towards his success will be if he can remain fit.
Immensely talented and with such a bright future ahead of him, linking up with Forest could be just the change he needs to restore his confidence, secure meaningful minutes and get his career back on track.