|Ream Just Looked at the EPL Table|
For Ream and the Red Bulls the transfer would be a big gamble. Ream would likely be thrown to the wolves immediately as a replacement for Gary Cahill, whose move to Chelsea looks to be a certainty. If Owen Coyle gets the sack, things could get even trickier for Ream, with no guarantee that the new manager would be willing to risk his future on a fairly inexperienced American defender. For the Red Bulls, on the other hand, an already thin defensive corps would be tissue paper thin. With Hans Backe and Erik Solér having made clear that they do not see Rafa Marquez as a central defender - and having jettisoned Carlos Mendes in the Re-entry Draft - they would be forced to buy not one but two defenders (and possibly a third for cover).
The big benefits for Ream are a higher level of competition that could see him re-enter the US Men's National Team picture (he has been on the fringes of the squad since Jurgen Klinsmann took over), and a much fatter paycheck. For the Red Bulls, the cap savings gained by selling Ream would be minimal - they paid Ream just $62,625 in total compensation in 2011 - but allocation dollars could help pay for new players or draw down DP salaries. If the £2m fee is anywhere close to accurate and the deal does go through, the Red Bulls would likely reap the maximum $625,000 allocation, even after the league takes its cut. That would provide Solér and Backe with a ton of options as they piece together the 2012 roster.
British tabloids have a reputation for printing everything and anything, so there's still a decent chance that the Ream story is wide of the mark. But where there's smoke there's usually fire, and there seems to be plenty of smoke around this deal.