Gio Reyna “can be whatever he wants to be”, according to former United States international Brad Friedel, who feels the Borussia Dortmund playmaker would not look out of place at Real Madrid or a Premier League heavyweight if a future transfer were to materialize.
For now, the highly-rated 18-year-old is very much focused on the present and coming back from a latest injury. He’ll want to be fit again for the second half of Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga season and the U.S. national team’s push to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
It is, however, expected that there will come a time when his next career move will need to be made, with Reyna’s obvious potential already being noted by leading sides across Europe.
In an interview with GOAL, the ex-U.S. goalkeeper Friedel said that the biggest question with Reyna will be avoiding injury: “He needs to stay fit also. He has had some issues. But he has done remarkably well. Basically from the first moment that he went over [to Germany] he has done well and gone from strength to strength.”
Could Reyna one day follow in the footsteps of his dad and play in England? Friedel thinks so: “He could play in the Premier League. When you come over to the Premier League, there is a learning curve because of the physicality of it. Could he get used to it, adapt and thrive? Absolutely.
“He can graft and do the defensive work, do the pressing, if that is what the system of play calls for. He has the tools to be all of that.
Could Gio Reyna end up at Real Madrid?
Friedel envisions the top clubs around the world being the next destination for the young American star.
“He is used to a big club, so that won’t be an issue if he were to go,” Friedel said. “I imagine that if he were to ever leave Dortmund, he would go to another very big club. That will just seem normal to him and won’t be daunting.”
Along with the inevitable links to ambitious sides in the Premier League, Reyna has also sparked talk of interest from La Liga giants Real Madrid.
It has been suggested that he could be targeted by the Blancos as a long-term successor to Luka Modric, a player alongside whom Friedel once played at Tottenham.
He said of that big billing: “They are different. Gio would need to play a lot more games to control the tempo of a game like Luka Modric.
“They are different players. Luka is one of the special midfielders that can play the No. 6, No. 8 or No. 10. He can control a whole game with his passing — speed it up, slow it down and it doesn’t even look like he’s running. That is something not taught, not coached, it’s just in his footballing brain.
“There are many more games that Gio will need to play in order to be there, but could he play at one of the big clubs? Could he play at Real Madrid one day? Yes. I think he has that quality.”