Marco Reus is the bargain of the century; future Ballon d'Or winner

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The internet can be a rather cruel, cold place at times. Populated by lurking loons and razor-fingered critics, everything is logged and stored, ammunition for another day.

One journalist learned that just the other day. German football expert Raphael Honigstein was asked, three years ago, what he thought about two emerging talents; one from continental Europe and another from the British Isles. Marco Reus and Ashley Young.

Back then Arsenal were taking a look at the promising but raw Borussia Monchengladbach star, prompting one fan to seek out Honigstein's opinion on the 22-year-old.

New Young

"Reus in one sentence?" he responded. "The white Ashley Young. Not a 100% fit but pretty close"

Viewed through the prism of football in 2014, his comments seem churlish, laughable even. Young, now with Manchester United has become a fallible caricature; an arched-back weak-ankled tumble merchant and poster child for the quickly-setting rot at Old Trafford in the post-Sir Alex era. To the mirth of the baying crowd, the tweet bubbled to the surface last week.

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While Young has fallen, literally and metaphorically, Reus' stock is still on the rise to the point where his trajectory has moved him into the sights of those European clubs operating in the financial stratosphere.

In fairness the 25-year-old has been marked for greatness for some time now. Borussia Dortmund have been forced to contend with having others skim the cream from their milk yet Reus has remained, a hometown boy loyal to those he loves. The affection hasn't always been mutual.


His journey thus far has been cyclical from Dortmund to Mochengladbach and back again. He was in fact let go by his current employers for being too limp-wristed. He was packed off to third division club Rot Weiss Ahlen.

"We should have taken a closer look," admitted Dortmund's sporting director, Michael Zorc of their mistake before they had the fortune of re-signing their former player. One of the more sizeable understatements you're likely to see.

After helping Monchenladbach avoid relegation as the replacement for Marko Marin (what is it with those who find themselves compared with Reus?), he led his side to qualification for the Champions League play-offs with a string of coruscating performances in 2011/12 that meant he could no longer remain at the Stadion im Borussia-Park.


His ascent had begun, which meant that by the time it came to Gladbach trying to reach the Champions League proper, Reus had gone and they fell to Dynamo Kiev. They've not been able to replicate the success of the class of 2011, led by Reus, since.

With his identity as Germany's leading young light ensconced, he joined Dortmund for around £15 million. Imagine that, a major European nation's best young player available for such a price. Everton, then and now, must be laughing all the way to the bank.  

Since then Reus has lived up to the hype. He's the type of player that exhilarates, reason alone to watch Borussia Dortmund play. Throw into the mix the intoxicating atmosphere of the Signal Iduna Park, the mad-dog pressing and razor-sharp countering of Jurgen Klopp's team then the results are enough to make you see the light. Whatever team you support, they don't player proper football, not like Dortmund.


Reus, as any good player should, sees things before they occur. He has a perception of reality few others possess. He's spring-heeled and incisive, an expert safe-cracker. A few quick flicks and he's away, the lock on the floor in pieces.

"He moves like a player on PlayStation," said former boss Lucien Favre, the man who helped forge Reus at Borussia Monchengladbach "He feels football; his match intelligence is incredible." 

He's been named in Kicker's Bundesliga team of the season three times in a row, was named in the UEFA Champions League team of the season last year after helping his side to the final where they fell against rivals Bayern Munich. Cruelly, he arrived at Dortmund just after their back-to-back title wins, but he is a player who would fit comfortably the title of league winner.

His weakness, as any great must have, is his fallibility when it comes to injuries. He of course missed the World Cup in Brazil - it says a lot about the talent they possess and Reus' status as their leading light that they went on to win the tournament regardless - while he is currently nursing an ankle injury. 

Time to shine

That aside, at 25, now seems to be his time to his time. Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are no longer spring chickens. That past was theirs but the future belongs to Reus. The world of football deserves a fresh new hero. He's even got a few years on Lionel Messi. Last year, at the time of the Champions League final, it was his face that beamed from the flagship Puma store on Carnaby Street in London. On the list marked star, he ticks all the boxes.

Only the downbeat punters hunched around Romford racetrack can know how it feels to have the world but let it slip away, but Dortmund look like they may have to pull up a stool and clutch a drink too. With loaded glee, Bayern Munich chief Karl Heinz Rummenigge recently exposed a clause in his contract which allows Reus to move for the paltry sum of €25 million.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and of course Bayern would dearly love to call him one of their own; reports today suggest talks over a new deal with Dortmund have stalled. Previously he's insisted he's happy, but equally comfortable keeping his options open. The insinuation is that it's impossible to resist the pull of the inevitable. Like Shinji Kagawa, like Nuri Sahin, like Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski, he may be lured away.

The bittersweet irony of it all? While Reus was helping Monchengladbach to 4th place in the Bundesliga, Ashley Young was being wheeled around Old Trafford scarf in hand. His fee? Not much less than the €25 million any of Reus' suitors will have to cough up, most likely next summer. Perhaps Honigstein was right after all, they are intrinsically linked. Football is nothing if not cruel.

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Marco Reus
Borussia Dortmund
Manchester United

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