Arsenal target Reus destined for big move - just not until next summer
Bernie Reeves takes a look at the latest Bundesliga-based talent to have caught the Arsenal manager's eye...
Lucien Favre, manager of high-flying Borussia MÃÂ¶nchengladbach, this week revealed to the German press that Arsene Wenger had telephoned him to enquire about the availability of midfielder Marco Reus, who was originally brought to WengerÃ¢ÂÂs attention by ex-Arsenal goalkeeper and Bundesliga veteran Jens Lehmann.
It wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be overstating the matter to say that Reus, and his club, are having a phenomenal season. Gladbach finished the previous campaign third from bottom in of the Bundesliga, meaning they were forced to face the third best-placed team from the 2.Bundesliga, VfL Bochum, in a relegation play-off. Gladbach won an extremely tight two-legged tie, with a last-minute equaliser at in the home fixture and then a 1-0 win away in the second leg seeing them triumph. Reus, needless to say, scored the winning goal.
This season has been an utterly different story for Die Fohlen. Under the guidance of Swiss tactician Favre, they sit fourth in the league, five points off leaders Bayern Munich, and already have the scalp of beating Gomez & Co on their own patch on the seasonÃ¢ÂÂs opening weekend in August.
Not only does the club owe Reus a large debt of gratitude for helping preserve their top-flight status, he has also spearheaded most of their wins this term. HeÃ¢ÂÂs an attacking midfielder, not a striker, yet already has seven league goals to his name this season. TheyÃ¢ÂÂve won 2-1 in their last two games against Hannover 96 and Hertha Berlin, with Reus scoring all four goals, and what is perhaps most striking is varying types of goal he can score.
Favre (left) has taken Reus under his wing
As good on his right foot as he is on his left, heÃ¢ÂÂs found the net from the most improbable of positions this season. He has 24 goals for Gladbach since moving from Rot-Weiss Ahlen in 2009 and has established himself as the key player in FavreÃ¢ÂÂs team. His form hasnÃ¢ÂÂt gone unnoticed by Germany manager Joachim LÃÂ¶w, who handed him his senior debut last month in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Turkey.
And neither has it gone unnoticed by Arsene Wenger. Favre, who was quick to emphasise the cordial relationship he enjoys with Wenger, politely rebuffed the enquiry from the Frenchman. And Reus himself said in an interview with German magazine Kicker at the end of October that he was happy at Borussia and not interested in a move elsewhere.
But a few other factors may soon determine where he plays his football, either from January or next summer. Should he be able to maintain his current levels of performance, his future will continue to be the subject of speculation. HeÃ¢ÂÂs now also a full German international, and would surely have featured in the upcoming friendlies against the Ukraine and Holland but for a virus which has rendered him unfit to play.
With Toni Kroos and Mesut ÃÂzil ahead of him in the pecking order, heÃ¢ÂÂll face an uphill battle to secure a place in the travelling party for Euro 2012, which may prevent him from showing other clubs what he can do. But there is still plenty more domestic, and international football, to be played between now and next summer, which will give Reus the opportunity to place himself in the shop window, even if he isnÃ¢ÂÂt yet angling for a move.
The finer details of his contract could also make keeping him more problematic than letting him go. His current deal at Borussia Park runs out in the summer of 2015, but clauses stipulate that he can leave for Ã¢ÂÂ¬18 million next summer, Ã¢ÂÂ¬15 million in 2013 or Ã¢ÂÂ¬12 million in 2014. The 2012 figure certainly seems a good price to pay for a 22-year-old currently showing he can stand toe-to-toe with the best in the Bundesliga. It seems likely heÃ¢ÂÂll stay with Borussia until next summer, but donÃ¢ÂÂt be surprised if heÃ¢ÂÂs on his way to a bigger club next summer, regardless of whether heÃ¢ÂÂs made a trip to Poland and the Ukraine beforehand.