Smoldering kindle around a possible sale of the New York Red Bulls’ Tim Ream to Bolton.
While nothing is confirmed and Ream’s wedding–to a US bride, not to a new team–has been cited as the reason he is not in Jurgen Klinsmann’s January Camp, the move would seem to make a lot of sense and offers the opportunity to investigate a few things around both the teams and leagues:
• First, it would seem the Red Bulls are selling at a valley in Ream’s value. After his rookie campaign, there seemed to be signs and assurances everywhere that Ream would be the first in line to claim the mantle that Carlos Bocanegra has held most recently at US left centerback. Ream’s second campaign however saw decidedly uneven play in 1-on-1 defending and his team the subject of one salacious locker room accusation after another.
In short, it’s not hard to figure that Ream’s value–the price being mulled ($1.5M) seems exceedingly low–probably dropped some in 2011. One also has to wonder if the off-field situation in New Jersey impacted Ream’s desire to move abroad earlier–by all accounts both MLS and Ream probably had more to gain after another year of seasoning.
• Continuing with the price, Ream’s sale would seem to be the catalyst for the long-rumored Gary Cahill move from the Reebok. Cahill, a terribly overrated centerback who nevertheless has English blood and thus has homegrown value, is rumored headed on to Chelsea as a seeming heir apparent for John Terry or cover is Terry is found guilty of racial abuse charges that will come to bear, or rather, be decided in February.
Fascinating here in that the continued discrepancy between MLS salaries and Euro salaries will probably make these sorts of move more and more frequent (think George John to Blackburn) in the future. That’s a good thing for US Soccer. English player A, from Premiership bottom table feeder club B is sold to top table side C and then an American is brought in as a cheap and capable replacement.
The US doesn’t have many trade balances in their favor, but it stands to reason this would be a boon for the league as a whole.
• Who’s next after Ream and how much–truly–did words from Jurgen Klinsmann help. Ream and now Robbie Rogers seem to be getting much more frequent press and looks than they did in the past. Just how much of a power player is Klinsmann becoming both in the States–where national team caps are a necessity for overseas work permits–and abroad where cheap stop-gap or squad players help out budgets more and more constrained by FIFA Fair Play rules.
• One can point to agents as well as grabbing a larger and larger foothold in Europe with the volume of American players on the rise. Scandinavia was always a destination point, but now clubs like Everton, West Brom and Bolton are seeded with players and relationships are built for larger pipelines as well.
It used to be Lyle Yorks who’s calling card was “I’ll get you to Europe.” It still is, but Richard Motzkin (Landon, etc.) with Wasserman has become even a much bigger player abroad with his roster. James Grant, etc.
• And what for Bolton? Don’t expect the Wanderers to can legend Owen Coyle after he unceremoniously departed Burnley just a few short seasons ago. Coyle’s had injuries–more impactful for a team with a thin budget–and really lacks star power. That said, Ream is still affordable if Bolton somehow get relegated. Bolton won’t get relegated mind you.
• Oh, and who’s next? Is it Rogers in fact? George John? Geoff Cameron? Luis Gil? Todd Dunivant? …Cmon, Dunivant.
A very good move here if it comes to fruition for Bolton. A solid move for Ream. Another challenging player move for the New York Red Bulls.