AS Roma has been under the watchful eye of American owners for nearly a decade now, first through Thomas Di Benedetto and James Pallotta in 2011 and now Dan Friedkin, who assumed control of the club in 2020. And throughout that time, the common assumption was that Roma's owners would stop at nothing in their quest to make inroads into the booming American soccer market. Through almost yearly trips to play in the ICC tournament, their new academy in New York, and even that one time they went to Disney World, Roma has pulled out all the stops in their quest to put America under their spell.
But despite those off the pitch moves, Roma has only tapped into the actual American talent market once—in 2012 when they signed Michael Bradley from Chievo. As the first American signing by the club's new American owners, Bradley faced more scrutiny than your typical box-to-box midfielder usually does and was sold to Toronto FC after 18 months.
Football has changed quite a bit since Roma sold Bradley in January of 2014, to the point where nearly every top club in Europe has fallen over themselves in an effort to land a young American talent. From Christian Pulisic at Chelsea, Sergino Dest at Barcelona, Weston McKennie at Juventus, and Giovanni Reyna at Dortmund, the days of America being a warehouse for goalkeepers are long gone; the United States is now producing intriguing outfield talent capable of playing at the highest levels of club football.
And now Roma has their very own shiny American toy: 19-year-old full-back Bryan Reynolds, formerly of FC Dallas. Thanks to an impressive 2020 campaign for Dallas, Reynolds’ name was quickly on the rise in prospect circles, so when Roma seemingly beat everyone to the punch in December, there was ample cause for celebration: Reynolds is big, fast, and technical; the stuff coaches dream of.
There was just one problem—Juventus nearly beat Roma to the punch. However, for reasons unknown, and thanks to the Friedkin's relationship with the Hunts (the owners of FC Dallas), they were able to land Reynolds on a transfer worth just shy of €7 million upfront, which they just made official moments ago:
Welcome to #ASRoma, Bryan Reynolds!— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) February 1, 2021
As a club we are proud to continue supporting missing children charities around the world - working together to improve the chances that youngsters across the globe will be returned home safely. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/JaM9oK0Ea3
According to the club, the terms of the deal are as follows:
Reynolds, 19, joins the Giallorossi from United States club FC Dallas on a temporary basis until 30 June 2021, for a loan fee of €100,000.
Subject to certain conditions, the overall agreement with Major League Soccer includes an obligation to make the transfer permanent for an initial fee of €6.75 million.
The deal reached also includes a number of performance-related clauses, based on the achievements of both the player and the club, that could end up being worth a total of €5.65m.
In the event of the future transfer of the player, MLS will retain the right to 15% of the profit on any deal – after factoring in the total amount already paid for the player at the time of his departure.
Subject to the transfer being made permanent, Reynolds has provisionally agreed a contract with the club that will run until 30 June 2025.
Reynolds then spoke briefly about his new team:
I am excited and humbled to join AS Roma. It is a dream come true After speaking to the club, I quickly realised that this is the ideal place for me to improve and develop as a footballer.
My challenge now is to keep improving day after day: I will work hard to achieve great things for this club.
Reynolds, 19, will wear number 19 for the Giallorossi, who now boast two Bryans. I'd say that's a good omen.
Welcome aboard, Bryan!