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Gio Reyna: Could USMNT star be "centerpiece" for Atlanta United?

Atlanta United are primed to make a splash in the MLS Secondary Transfer Window.

They have two open Designated Player spots after selling midfielder Thiago Almada (to Brazil’s Botafogo) and striker Giorgos Giakoumakis (to Mexico’s Cruz Azul) for reportedly over $30 million combined. That sum might soon increase, as left back Caleb Wiley is linked to Premier League side Chelsea for reportedly $10-plus million.

With Atlanta’s coffers full and high-end talent needed, MLS Season Pass analyst Sacha Kljestan thinks they should bring one of the biggest US men’s national team stars back stateside: Gio Reyna.


The vision, according to Kljestan? The former New York City FC academy star gets acquired from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and slots into Almada’s vacant No. 10 role.

“We saw him not getting minutes at Dortmund, then going on loan to Nottingham Forest, didn't really get enough minutes there,” Kljestan said on This is MLS. “This way he plays week in, week out for two years straight, shows how good he is in MLS and makes a transfer back to Europe at 23 years old, after the 2026 World Cup. I think it's a no-brainer.

“It's going to cost Atlanta United some money, but I think it would be really good for him personally. And we've seen what he's done with the national team. The kid has quality.”

New striker

Kljestan wouldn’t stop at Reyna and identified Memphis Depay as Giakoumakis’ replacement. The Dutch international is out of contract after departing Atlético Madrid.

“Memphis Depay is a free striker right now,” Kljestan said. “Atlanta United, go out and get Memphis Depay. That's a starting No. 9. He's 30 years old, available on a free transfer. You're not going to recoup any money in the transfer market on that, but he's guaranteed to get you goals.”

By potentially pairing Depay with Reyna, Kljestan believes fireworks follow in Atlanta.

“If you put those two together on Atlanta, and they can find their way back into the playoff picture, I don't think anybody in the East will want to see Atlanta United with those two in a playoff matchup because they're both game-winners,” Kljestan said.

Realistic move?

As enticing as Reyna in Atlanta would be, MLS Season Pass analyst Calen Carr wasn’t quite on board – especially since the club needs a full-time head coach after parting ways with Gonzalo Pineda.

“For his development right now, I think having a really experienced manager [is important],” Carr said. “I agree with getting minutes and playing week in, week out. But I'm not sure that's the right situation, the right platform for him to come in.”

That doesn't stop Kljestan from dreaming, though.

“Bring him back home,” Kljestan said. “Let him be the centerpiece of Atlanta United for the next two years leading up to the World Cup. He needs playing time. He will get you assists. He will set up plays.”