Monday, January 23, 2012

Ream Seals Bolton Deal, Monday News & Notes

So Long Timmy!
The long-running transfer saga involving New York Red Bulls central defender Tim Ream appears to have finally come to an end this afternoon, with the BBC reporting that Bolton Wanderers have secured a UK work permit. There had been considerable doubt about Ream's qualifications for a visa, as he had only played in a total of two competitive fixtures for the US Men's National Team. But after a successful appeal, which might have included letters from the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, the deal has now gone through, with an introduction likely tomorrow.

With a final price agreed of somewhere between $2.75 and $3 million, the transfer makes Ream the most expensive American defender ever sold abroad. It's not a bad haul for the Red Bulls, considering the fact that they selected Ream in the second round of the 2010 draft, and taking into account his up and down form in 2011. Because Ream has two years of seniority and is not a homegrown player, the Red Bulls will be entitled to half of the total transfer fee, with about $650,000 available to use on player salaries ($700,000+ when you factor in Ream's salary coming off RBNY's books).  

What will they do with their new-found wealth? Part of it is likely to go directly to Chicago Fire in order to secure the rights of Wilman Conde. This deal had been rumored on Draft Day, but was probably postponed until the Red Bulls could be certain of Ream's departure. Another chunk of the money might be used to secure the services of new players, such as the Icelandic midfielder Victor Pálsson and the English/Cypriot defender Tom Williams, both of whom are reported to be discussing terms with RBNY. 

Then there's the question of the goalkeeper position. Though Jeremy Vuolo and Ryan Meara might both be solid #2 keepers, neither is likely to be between the pipes on Opening Day in Dallas. Getting a quality netminder won't be cheap. By the time the Red Bulls have landed Conde, Pálsson, Williams and a goalkeeper, they may well have little to no allocation money remaining. That assumes, of course, that Juan Agudelo is not sold. Rumors of interest from Liverpool have been making the rounds, and the Red Bulls may well be eager to cash in on a player who made little progress in his second season but is still coveted by foreign clubs.

Expect a lot more news between now and the time the Red Bulls travel to Mexico. With the Ream business cleared up, Erik Solér and Hans Backe should have a lot more freedom of movement under the salary cap.

Finally, a big thanks to Tim Ream for everything he gave the New York Red Bulls over his two seasons in Harrison. Despite some ups and downs, he was never less than a consummate professional and a really terrific guy. We at the Viper's Nest would like to wish him all the success in the world as he embarks on a new life in England.

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