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Report: U.S. U-17 midfielder Reyna to sign for Borussia Dortmund academy


Another top American youngster is set to head for Germany for the crucial development years of his career.

According to Goal USA, U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team midfielder Giovanni Reyna is expected to join Borussia Dortmund’s academy when he turns 16-years old this November. Reyna is able to head to Europe before his 18th-birthday thanks to a Portuguese passport he received by way of his father, former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Claudio Reyna and Claudio’s mother, who was born in Portugal.

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Reyna just finished a tournament in Mexico with the U.S. U-17s, and earlier this summer he led NYCFC’s Under-18/19 team to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy title, despite being just 15-years old. Reyna was also a standout on the U.S. U-15 national team the past couple of years.

While not every American moving to Europe is successful (see: Haji Wright, Junior Flores), there is plenty of good precedent at Dortmund, especially thanks to Christian Pulisic. With Josh Sargent looking strong in the youth ranks and reserves at Werder Bremen and both Pulisic and¬†Weston McKennie (Schalke) starring for the first team for their clubs in Germany, it’s an attractive place for young players – not just Americans – to move to. It’s still much too early to start the hype train on Reyna, but if he impresses in the Dortmund academy over the next two years, he could see a chance to play with the first team by 2020.

One thing to keep in mind is that NYCFC, which has likely spent thousands of dollars investing in coaching and facilities for Reyna’s development – along with other players – is losing him for nothing to Dortmund. And other talented young players, James and Will Sands or Joe Scally, haven’t seen much if any time with the first team.

Witsel leaves China to play for Borussia Dortmund

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29-year-old Axel Witsel has joined Borussia Dortmund after the German club met his release clause, triggering the end of his contract with Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.

Dortmund announced the signing on Monday afternoon and confirmed they had triggered the clause, and announced the signing of a contract through the summer of 2022, meaning Witsel will be 33 years old at the expiration of his new Dortmund contract. The club posted pictures of Witsel already participating in team training.

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Witsel had a solid World Cup performance this summer, helping lead Belgium to the semifinals before ultimately falling to eventual champions France. He played a more defensive role in midfield alongside the marauding Marouane Fellaini, helping distribute to Kevin De Bruyne, Nacer Chadli, and Eden Hazard. Overall, Witsel has 96 caps for Belgium.

“We were strongly interested in signing Axel Witsel for the past few months,” said Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc in the official release. “We are delighted he opted to join Borussia Dortmund. Axel is a player with huge international experience. He has the skill set to shape our midfield: Tactical understanding, good in the direct duels, pace, creativity and mentality.”

Witsel played just 36 matches for Tianjin Quanjian, scoring five goals. He joined the Chinese club last summer from Zenit St. Petersburg after spending five years in the Russian top flight. Surprisingly, this is the first time in his entire career that Witsel will play in a Big 5 league (England, Germany, Italy, Spain, France). He rose through the youth ranks at Belgian giants Standard Liege to make the first team, before making stops in Portugal with Benfica and Russia with Zenit.

Transfer rumor roundup: Dortmund wants Witsel; Mignolet to Barca?

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Pro Soccer Talk takes a look at some of the biggest transfer stories on a busy Tuesday.

[ MORE: Pulisic staying put at Dortmund for 2018 season ]

After a strong World Cup for third-place finishers Belgium, Axel Witsel is drawing serious interest from one of Germany’s top sides.

Borussia Dortmund is believed to be looking to bring in the holding midfielder, who showed well in Russia as an anchor in front of the Belgian back line.

The Bundesliga side is currently in negotiations with Chinese Super League club¬†Tianjin Quanjian, however, it’s unclear how advanced discussions are between the two organizations.

Barcelona could make an expected approach to Liverpool to secure a backup goalkeeper this summer.

With Alisson having landed at Anfield and Loris Karius also available for Jurgen Klopp, the Blaugrana are looking at Simon Mignolet as a second-string keeper behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Mignolet traveled to Russia this summer for the World Cup, and served as number two for Belgium behind Thibaut Courtois.

Paris Saint-Germain will have some good news as Adrian Rabiot appears set to sign a new contract at the Parc des Princes.

Rabiot has been linked with a move to Barcelona for much of the offseason, however, it seems as though new manager Thomas Tuchel will be able to keep the midfielder in Ligue 1.

Finally, Arsenal has handed young midfielder Emile Smith Rowe a new contract at the Emirates Stadium after an impressive showing at the International Champions Cup.

Smith Rowe scored for the Gunners against Atletico Madrid in fantastic style, making him a player to watch for the club in the future.

Sources: Pulisic staying put at Dortmund for 2018 season

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Talks of a move away from the¬†Westfalenstadion are becoming more of a reality for U.S. Men’s National Team star Christian Pulisic, however, it won’t be this year.

[ MORE: Almiron says goal is to play in Europe in 2019 ]

The 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund winger has been the subject of significant transfer discussions over the summer, and more recently after his fine play for the Bundesliga giants during their summer tour of the United States at the International Champions Cup.

Sources have told Pro Soccer Talk that despite interest from top Premier League sides Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as reported intrigue from Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, Pulisic will stay put at Dortmund for the start of the 2018/19 German season.

Interest from a number of these well-recognized clubs is very real, but no official bids have been placed to BVB this window though, and several sources have suggested that it is “highly unlikely” that any come in before the end of the current transfer window.

While Bayern or Real would have more time to lodge a bid for the young American prodigy, Chelsea, Liverpool and any other English sides interested in Pulisic would have to put a rush on a move with England’s transfer window closing early in 2018 due to the World Cup.

The English transfer window concludes on August 9, while three of the four other major leagues in Europe conclude on August 31. Italy’s transfer period ends on August 18.

Pulisic is currently under contract with the Black and Yellow until the end of the 2019/2020 campaign, however, one source told PST that it is highly likely Dortmund will be willing to sell next summer, and possibly during the upcoming January transfer window, in order to avoid losing Pulisic for free.

It was reported over the weekend by German outlet Bild that Pulisic and his representatives broke off negotiations with Dortmund regarding a new contract to stay with the club, and PST has learned that the decision was made in order to keep his options open ahead of next summer when a transfer will “become a greater reality.”

Although a PL destination remains highly likely to be the end landing spot for Pulisic, a separate source says there is significant interest from Bayern and that a move to remain in the Bundesliga could very well be in the cards for Pulisic, who has shown signs of success early in his professional career in the German top flight.

With Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben nearing the back end of their respective careers, Pulisic is viewed as an ideal replacement on the wing given his pace and adept skill on the ball.

Bayern recently broke the MLS transfer record for an outgoing player with the addition of Vancouver Whitecaps winger Alphonso Davies, whose fee could reach upwards of $22 million.

Chelsea has been linked with Pulisic more as of late with Willian the subject of significant transfer rumors, however, the timing of a deal would be very much contingent upon when and/or if the Brazil international does exit Stamford Bridge.

Willian has failed to report to Blues preseason training thus far, however, Goal reported on Tuesday that the attacker is set to link up with the club after having trouble with his passport and that a move to Real Madrid is unlikely.

Reports: Christian Pulisic considered an option for Chelsea

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According to The Mirror, Chelsea is interested in bringing American winger Christian Pulisic to Stamford Bridge enough to the point of discussions with the player and his representatives.

The report states that Pulisic has a price tag of $85 million, and while Borussia Dortmund has been adamant he is not for sale this summer, rumors have nonetheless swirled about his potential availability.

Pulisic’s former boss Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool has been reportedly his biggest suitor for much of the summer, but with Chelsea involved, a bidding war could take place, driving up the price and convincing Dortmund to sell. Chelsea’s new apparent involvement could signal the departure of Eden Hazard, who has been heavily linked to Real Madrid for much of the summer, especially following his impressive World Cup showing.

[ MORE: Puel says Leicester stars will stay ]

However, in a more recent development, Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard reports that instead of Hazard, the key to pulling the trigger on Pulisic would be the sale of Willian, who has garnered interest himself after a positive showing with Brazil at the World Cup this summer.¬† Johnson also reports that Chelsea believe they have warded Real Madrid off Hazard’s tail, and so selling Willian would not cripple the Blues’ attack.

Pulisic rumors have mostly come to nothing for the majority of the summer, but with his current deal at Westfalenstadion set to expire in 2020, now is the time for Dortmund to sell and receive full compensation. Should they let Pulisic go into next summer, his price would drop considerably as Dortmund’s leverage wanes. The Mirror reports that signing a new deal with Borussia Dortmund is also a possibility, but that talks have not progressed in some time.