- Posted: 5:39 PM, November 22, 2011
According to The People , Bolton boss Owen Coyle has picked Ream as a potential replacement should he lose England standout Gary Cahill in the next transfer window. Bolton has had success with U.S. midfielder Stu Holden. Meanwhile, Arsenal has been interested in _ and reportedly bidding for _ Ream, with West Brom confirming interest in a winter training stint.
“I guess that’s common knowledge now,’’ Ream said earlier this month of the increased Premier League interest in his services. “I think there are a few others. It’s just one of those things; you always have eyes watching you. It’s an honor to have a team of (Arsenal’s) caliber watching you, following you.
“At the same time, you can’t let that be a distraction either. If something comes of it, so be it. It would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m still under contract here, I love playing here, love the guys, love the team.’’
As of today, no loan deals had been finalized for Ream, but West Brom's official website made their interest clear.
"I first saw Tim during the Emirates tournament in the summer and I quite liked him, along with other Red Bulls players,'' West Brom's Sporting Director Dan Ashworth told the team's website. "We have been in discussion with New York about maybe Tim spending a few days with us."
Ream's strong finish left him with a Castrol rating of 8.12, which ranked 53rd in MLS and third-best on the Red Bulls behind only captain Thierry Henry (3rd at 9.21) and underrated Dane Richards (13th at 8.84). Joel Lindpere was 54th at 8.1.
Ream’s ability to play the ball out of the back, and his comparatively cheap price tag, combine to make him an attractive option for European clubs.
He earned $55,125 in base salary this MLS season, and just $62,625 in guaranteed compensation. For a player that has forced his way into the U.S. National Team pool _ and got sporadic playing time in the Gold Cup, albeit with some struggles _ his salary demands even at a huge raise would prove small by EPL standards.
Red Bulls GM Erik Soler approached Ream about an extension _ reportedly handing the second-year pro a contract to sign during a bus ride _ but Ream declined. He’s believed to be on a standard MLS rookie two-plus-two contract, with the Red Bulls holding options for 2012 and 2013.Arsenal had a $4 million bid rejected in the summer, according to the Independent reported.
“Once again, if the contract runs out and the opportunity is still there, it’d be a great opportunity,’’ said Ream. “(I’m) not actively searching. If someone comes to Erik and the coaching staff and want me to possibly come over on a loan deal, I think we’ll explore that, that opportunity. If someone comes to us, so be it, but I’m not actively searching out places to go.’’
Ream acknowledged the possibility of a training stint or short-term loan, with West Brom or the Red Bulls’ sister club in Salzburg as possibilities. He said that U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann _ who has been crystal clear that the MLS season is too short and wants his domestic-based players to go on loans/training stints in the offseason _ would take a hand in arranging those plans.
“He’s kind of setting all that up. He has contacts with just about every team over there. Himself and the rest of the staff, they’ve been in contact with myself, my agent and work out ways to get over there and train for the next three, four weeks,’’ said Ream. “There are rumblings of possibly West Brom; nothing concrete as of yet.’’
Ream’s play improved when coach Hans Backe finally took Rafa Marquez off the back line and inserted the more physical Stephen Keel. Marquez had provided too much duplication of Ream’s talents _ a finesse player long and skill, but lacking in aerial ability _ while Keel was a much better complement.
“We need to balance,” Backe said. “If you play Ream, who is more of a ‘soft’ center back, more of you can almost say attacking center back with his passing game, you need one guy – a cleaner – alongside Ream.”
While no loan deal has been worked out for Ream, the Red Bulls’ other young U.S. National Team player _ 18-year-old striker Juan Agudelo _ will spend a winter stint with Stuttgart of the Bundesliga.