VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach's German international midfielder Marco Reus confirmed in early January that he would be signing for his home-town club Borussia Dortmund in the summer after his old side triggered a €17.5m release clause in his contract.
If that came as a tremendous development to Dortmund fans – eager to see another dynamic young player thrive under coach Jürgen Klopp – it was agonising news for the Foals. Reus has scored ten goals in 15 Bundesliga games this season, helping transform a Mönchengladbach team that barely escaped relegation last term into one capable of challenging for European qualification.
The attack-minded Reus, however, has deep roots in Dortmund. He was born in the city and was a youth player at the club between 2003 and 2006 before moving on to Rot-Weiss Ahlen and, in 2009, Mönchengladbach. Home continues to have a hold on the 22-year-old; his family remain in Dortmund, as does his girlfriend, and when the chance came to return, he jumped at it.
"It's important to me that I am in a sound and healthy environment and I know that will be the case in Dortmund," Reus said.
He is likely to feature alongside Shinji Kagawa and Mario Götze in a skilful, if small, midfield, with Klopp excited at the prospect. "He's one of the few footballers who are still able to accelerate with the ball at their feet," said Dortmund's trainer. "He completes our attacking unit – he is a vital component to improving and developing our team further in the coming years."
Mönchengladbach's Lucien Favre is in no doubt about Reus's quality. "He is unbelievably good," said the coach of the Bundesliga's fourth-placed side. "
His acceleration is tremendous and he has an incredible football brain, like a player from PlayStation."
With three international caps, Reus is in contention for Germany's UEFA EURO 2012 squad and, while he insisted that Joachim Löw had no influence on his decision to join Dortmund, he knows the national coach is watching him. "I want to focus on my football and hopefully go to the EURO this summer," he said.
Given Reus's burgeoning reputation – and what he might be worth in the event of a successful EURO with Germany – Klopp was relieved he is so attached to his home town that he was prepared to ignore interest from elsewhere. "It's a special transfer," said the 44-year-old. "We are very lucky he was born in Dortmund."
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