If Tim Ream Goes Bolton…

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.

40 responses to this post.

  1. You know who is next? Gregg Berhalter… Manager of Hammarby.



  2. Posted by DeJongsCollectionOfBrokenLegs on 2011/12/28 at 3:03 PM

    Why are we assuming this is going to work out all fine and dandy? Ream had a mediocre 2nd season and remains in “prospect” status… he is not a finished product. If he goes to Bolton and fails to impress, as many young overconfident Americans often do when they go to Europe, he will just ride the bench and fail to develop. If he made the mistakes he made last season he would be benched after just one or two games in the EPL.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/28 at 3:14 PM

      Less expectation with playing on Bolton given the season they’re mired in. That’s a weak argument from me.

      Better argument, his confidence at NYRB was crushed–even a change of destination in the US would be a good thing for him.

      Finally, he can always come back…with more dollars in his pocket.

      So I’m not sure where your perspective is on him?


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/12/28 at 3:26 PM

      I don’t think he’s good enough for the Premier League either but he’ll get his chances to prove he’s not good enough at Bolton before getting benched. They aren’t going to spend money on bringing someone in only to drop him after one or two games because they can’t afford to spend much.

      My concern is his strength. A lot of his mistakes for the national team seem to be the kind that will be punished routinely in the Prem. He doesn’t read the crosses particularly well and he’s not strong enough to make up for that weakness by putting players off physically.

      A move to Bolton can’t be any worse than last season was for him with New York. That was a completely wasted year.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/12/29 at 8:58 PM

        I’m not sure about this lack of strength business.

        When you are not confident about what is going on with your own defense, and it seems that was the case with Ream, you become tentative. When you are tentative is is very easy for the attacker to “out-muscle” you since he knows exactly what he wants to do while you are unsure about what you should be doing. Many of the flaws you attibute to Ream can be exacerbated dramatically if you become tentative.

        Should Ream wind up with Bolton, Coyle will likely give him a very clear idea of exactly what he needs to do and where and when to do it. Coyle gave Holden a very clear mandate and I expect he will do the same with Ream. And he will show a lot more confidence in Ream than either Backe or JK did.

        I would expect that will go a long way towards helping Ream play much better.

        Whether that is good enough time will tell.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/30 at 12:16 AM

          “When you are not confident about what is going on with your own defense, and it seems that was the case with Ream, you become tentative. When you are tentative is is very easy for the attacker to “out-muscle” you since he knows exactly what he wants to do while you are unsure about what you should be doing. Many of the flaws you attibute to Ream can be exacerbated dramatically if you become tentative”

          Martin – have you ever played at a high level? I am guessing not.
          I disagree 100% with this “unsure about what you should be doing” lark at this level. There is no way Ream trains everyday and does not get prepared for each team / opponent. I am not sure who Bolton’s defensive coach is, but I am sure that they work on their drills, shape / positioning and match-ups. I know I did at Surrey…


          • Posted by Martin on 2011/12/30 at 5:19 PM


            First off I’m talking about Ream’s play with NYRB not Bolton. So I’m not sure why you seem to be mixing Bolton’s training routines up with NYRB’s.

            As cliche as it sounds, defense is a team game. Ream has stated and it’s also clear that he’s not entirely comfortable with his defensive partners in NY. So it seems our NYRB defenders are not entirely in sync. That causes you to hesitate.

            And at that high level as I’m sure you know from your personal experience, the slightest hesitation may be all a Peter Osgood, a Les Ferdinand, a Rodney Marsh, a Stan Bowles or an Ian Wright needs to spin or blow right by you and make you look stupid.

            What would Coyle have to gain by singing Ream’s praises if he didn’t really believe what he said? I’m sure if Coyle gets him at Bolton, given how much he seems to rate him, he will make every attempt to make Ream squared away with the defense, something I’m not sure Backe either cared about or knew how to do. But who knows what Backe thinks? Obviously if Backe thought Ream was so crap he would have sat him down right? Yet Ream appeared in only two less games than he did in 2010.

            Is Ream’s problem the coaching? Is Ream just stupid? Did he stop eating his Wheaties as Jared seems to think? Or did Ream just fool NYRB his first year and everyone else and is he now getting found out in his second go round with the league?

            My guess would be he mostly needs a change of scenery.


    • Being only two years deep into his career, I doubt (and sincerely hope) that Bolton wouldn’t buy him to immediately plug into the starting XI for the rest of the season. I assume that they’ve seen what he can do and are planning on bringing him along smartly.


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/28 at 4:02 PM

    Oh I don’t think Ream walks into a starting role, but Bolton is so thin that he should get playing time.

    And, an aside, it bears mentioning that Fabrice Muamba has not nearly looked at sniper like in defensive midfield without Stu on the pitch.


    • Posted by KKS on 2011/12/28 at 7:41 PM

      “Fabrice Muamba has not nearly looked at sniper like in defensive midfield without Stu on the pitch.”
      If by that you mean “Fabrice Muamba’s complete lack of quality on both sides of the ball has been nakedly and glaringly exposed without Stu to generally piss excellence and cover for him,” then yes.

      As for the Ream move…our differing opinions about Gary Cahill aside, I wonder how much of his poor play is just lack of confidence and the resulting lack of form, and how much of it has to do with actual quality. I, for one, still think Ream has tremendous upside, but I wonder whether a move to Bolton–especially given the complete liability that is Zat Knight–won’t just expose his weaknesses more. He’s not particularly strong, either in the air or in the tackle, and he’s not particularly pacy. Though, I think he reads the game fairly well, and I think his seeming tentativeness will evaporate given some of OC’s exhortations. As for your confidence that BW will stay up…I wish I shared it.


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/12/29 at 2:55 PM

        Speaking of Stu, I was watching the PL Review show and some Bolton fans were being inyerviewed. They were all surprisingly level-headed about being on the bottom of the table and expressed that Stu’s injury decided their fate for he season. There was bo Coyle-bashing or anything. Pretty cool.

        Also, How oldbos Ream again? 26? Is that the defenders equivalent of a 22yo striker?


  4. Posted by Alex on 2011/12/28 at 4:51 PM

    I think Ream looked the worst when he was partnered with Marquez and Tainio was injured. I don’t doubt Ream at all and I think he will develope into a solid CB and Nat contributor, but this past year has not been nice to him for a lot of reasons. Near the end he looked like a shell of his former self on the field, but while he was being called out, I don’t think his form was any worse than any other Red Bull on the field with. I hope he gets some new scenery.


  5. Posted by JGD on 2011/12/28 at 4:56 PM

    Yeeeah I’m pretty sure Bolton does take the drop after this season. They’ve looked worse than everyone but Blackburn. Could change, but I don’t see many teams taking a drastic fall.


  6. Posted by EFG on 2011/12/28 at 4:57 PM

    My biggest question is how are you so certain Bolton won’t make the drop? I’ve seen nothing from them to convince me otherwise. That being said, I think being in the Championship will be good for Ream (more matches, “less” pressure in trying to avoid relegation, etc).


  7. Posted by dth on 2011/12/28 at 7:06 PM

    New York: buy high, sell low. Wait, what? The clear move is to offload Rafa Marquez at whatever price you can get for him. Apparently New York doesn’t realize the most valuable MLS commodities are cheap, young Americans who are either good or have plenty of potential to be good. I’m starting to wonder whether those Juan Agudelo rumors have any merit also.

    It’s too bad MLS doesn’t have the mass interest other American sports do, because I’m convinced there’s a fantastic narrative/investigative book into Red Bulls from 2010 to 2011. Why did Hans Backe look so tactically smart in 2010 and so stupid in 2011? What the hell happened to most of their players? What is their front office thinking? etc. etc. Without any first-round picks–and no opportunity to pick up one of those invaluable commodities, cheap young good American players–it’s hard to see how NYRB gets much better in the future.


    • Posted by JakeC on 2011/12/28 at 10:37 PM

      Seriously, someone get Ream the heck away from Backe, Marquez and the NYRB if that’s the way they’re going to continue to do business. Highest percentage of non-US players in the league (excepting maybe Chivas) and they have an absolutely abysmal season. Ream’s partners at CB were either too inept or mentally unstable to form anything resembling a healthy partnership at the back. If I’m him or Agudelo, I’m wanting to get out of there now.

      Bolton are in a precarious situation; as much as I’d like to agree with you, Shaun, I’m not sure they can extricate themselves from the bottom three this season, and their back line is abysmal. That said, Ream has a solid asset in the form of Owen Coyle. Despite the clamors for his head, it was Coyle who gave Stu Holden the confidence to come back from a broken ankle and perform as one of the Prem’s top midfielders prior to Jonny Evans’ foot. I think Tim’s a good player, I’ve raved about him in the past. But if his club situation doesn’t change quickly then he’s in trouble.

      Final Question: if Ream makes the transfer, any chance he slots in at LB in place of the woeful Paul Robinson?


      • Posted by JakeC on 2011/12/28 at 10:41 PM

        Also, how ridiculous is it that NYRB are fielding a senior side with that many foreign players in New Jersey, a hotbed of American talent? Complete waste of facilities and personnel if you ask me. Which nobody did.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/12/29 at 12:00 PM

          I don’t know, on the “academy underachivement” table NYRB aren’t even close to top. Agudelo is obvious, but they’ve signed a few other players and have some good players at Bradenton. They haven’t done a DC United yet, but that’s really an exception.

          I’d argue the three teams that should feel the most shame on that subject are Houston, Chicago, San Jose.


          • Posted by JakeC on 2011/12/29 at 4:28 PM

            That’s part of my point, they have some excellent academy products that aren’t taking the natural next step to the senior side–and they certainly aren’t getting consistent reps with the first team like they should be (Agudelo).


            • Posted by dth on 2011/12/29 at 8:58 PM

              The Agudelo case is tough, I think. Rodgers and Henry clearly work well together as a team and Agudelo doesn’t mesh as well for either. They felt–with some justice–that they didn’t have the spare games to burn for him to figure things out.

              It’s the classic big-money club dilemma: how to integrate a high-upside but inconsistent player into a relatively expensive and established side. It’s why Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have fine academies and fine products of their academies–but many of those products are playing for other teams.

              The dilemma is worse for NYRB: there are relatively fewer competitions for them, and MLS reserve league plays ten to fifteen fewer games per year than their European counterparts. It’s a risk, but if I’m a young player in MLS being stuck behind tapoica-bland veteran, I’m strongly considering a foreign transfer for exactly this reason. (I’m thinking of Agudelo, and Amobi Okugo.) (And yes, before someone responds IF YOU WERE REALLY THAT GOOD YOU’D BE PLAYING HAR HAR HAR, take it up with once-frustrated-bench-players Juan Mata and Mats Hummels.)

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/29 at 11:57 PM

              Rodgers? I just puked in my mouth. I have seen this guy a number of times at RBS in 2011 and what a waste of space. Effing muppet.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/12/30 at 10:51 AM

              Rodgers is a jerk, but he moves well without the ball and finishes well. Agudelo doesn’t really move well without the ball and his finishing is only OK. I used to think Rodgers continually starting would motivate Agudelo to improve those aspects of his game which are deficient, but thus far he hasn’t done it.

          • Posted by Gregorio on 2011/12/30 at 9:16 AM

            Adding more fuel to the speculaive fires (End the the New Year in Flames!)
            I think its about politics or back room shennigans, Agudelo should be starting, if fact I’ll go out on a limb and state that I rather Agudelo start over Jozy. As far as the RBs go, I’l take Agudelo over rodgers as well, but the problem is he wants the same space/ball as Henry. They both want to be the lead in the dance , Rodgers is happy raking up the muck but he aint Ginger.

            PS George I respect ya brother but you’re a tad fiesty today, watch Bellamy cause chaos on the field today at Anfield and hope Crystal gets in the promotion zone (only 3 off)
            Happy New Year ALL!


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/30 at 12:20 AM

          Why is it ridiculous? Since when is it a responsibility to field US players? [You can’t have it both ways].


          • Posted by Gregorio on 2011/12/30 at 9:06 AM

            I think in the early NASL years teams had to have at least 3 Americans on the field at one time or something like that. I remember our stand out Ricky Davis!!! go Cosmos!


          • Posted by dth on 2011/12/30 at 10:50 AM

            It’s not a responsibility by any means. Nevertheless, given the protected domestic-player slots, the path to MLS success depends on finding affordable, good Americans.


            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/30 at 11:33 AM

              That;s fair enough.

              I have no problem with imports if they have the talent that exceeds domestic talent. I get annoyed when I see the likes of Luke Rodgers playing for NYRBs – obviously, I don’t know the talent depth of their squad, but come on Luke Rodgers?! Surely there are American players of comparable quality / talent? I understand MLS doesn’t have the money to compete with the likes of Shenhua, but…

            • Posted by Gregorio on 2011/12/30 at 11:56 AM

              I think there are Americans who can do the same job as Rodgers but they aren’t looked at or thought of because of Eurosnobbery or an Anti-Amercian false belief system ex. Americans lack the skill set, can’t do what others do, bullcrap. I think if given the time without a quick hook b/c they are american and who are we kidding attitude; they can rise to the occasion.
              I think Americans exposed to foriegn talent helps them develop tremendously, as with their off the ball movements, trainnings, etc.. but this underlying belief system that Americans or anyone can’t learn these things by a certain age is nonsense. Yes it makes it more difficult and there is a learning curve that needs time that many clubs. coaches, franchises don’t have. I think its important that we start to undo this belief system to develop as a nation. We can’t develop a Messi overnight or over a year or so but we can’t develop a Luke Rodgers?

            • Posted by dth on 2011/12/30 at 1:02 PM

              I don’t know, perhaps I have a higher estimation of Luke Rodgers than the rest of you folk, but I think he’s pretty darn good at moving without the ball and poaching–a skill that’s notoriously lacking from Americans. Occasionally we produce those types, but it’s not at all frequent.

  8. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/12/28 at 7:31 PM

    If this happens its a good one for Ream of course, but the price seems too low for the NYRBs to take it. I think the price will go up a million before anything happens.
    Now my dos centavos. I think Ream will prosper. Coyle wants him and will do wonders for his confidence. He will be good, watch; people under estimate the effects of having a manager want/see the potential in you. As far as him being too weak, he will acclimate, its not a matter of strength as more as a matter of hunger (fight, desire, heart, insert appropriate word). He hopefully will get that fight in him. so issues around jockeying for positioning will be decreased and hopefully he’ll get better on aerial battles.
    It reminds me of the criticisms directed at DeGea at Man U, he isn’t strong enough or not used to hard EPL style, afraid to contest corners, etc… Those have since abated some what….
    I do hope Ream goes there, it only increases the value of Americans players as a marketing product.
    PS Bolton lack firepower but Coyle will pull a rabbit of his rectum so the sclub will stay up if they don’t can him first.
    And so will my Wolves!!!!


    • Posted by dth on 2011/12/29 at 9:00 PM

      I don’t know, NYRB has a long history of making stupid moves. Michael Bradley for $500k has to be up there for “stupidest transfer deal involving an American” ever.


  9. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/28 at 9:26 PM

    The Bolton News reports ‘lower than’ GBP2mil for Ream, which is a fair bit more than $1.5m.

    I think the rest of this season will see Ream adjusting to the paceof of the PL, adjusting to a new team, and of course a new country with his new Mrs. We have all seen what he is capable of, which is why there were so many rave reviews. So we all know he has the ability in him, it is just a matter of him finding form. If he does, then that’s a good bit of business. If he doesn’t, well Bolton aren’t too much out of pocket (unless they go down), and Ream benefits from a pay rise, Coronation Street and socialised medicine!


  10. Posted by Damon on 2011/12/29 at 7:29 AM

    Does it strike anyone else as odd that the transfer fee for Ream would be a huge percentage of the entire salary cap for a MLS team but be considered by some people to be “exceedingly low”?


  11. […] The Shin Guardian weighs in on the whole is Tim Ream going to Bolton thing. […]


  12. Posted by dikranovich on 2012/01/05 at 7:32 PM

    big win for bolton at everton, against the wind. its safe to say bolton are not just laying down and they do have a brutal next month or two. damn, timmy could have pitched the shutout and really picked up some monster points, but this win for bolton is obviously good for the league and competition in general.

    ream might just slide right into a starting spot. he will be the bits to zak knights kibbles. the other option for bolton is david wheater. it might just be a baptism under fire for ream over the next month or so.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/01/06 at 8:16 AM

      Yeah, Bolton’s next 7 PL fixtures include: Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City. Talk about hitting the ground running!

      Still think Coyle will use him wisely for the rest of this season with the view that he’ll be fully acclimatised for the start of the 2012/13 season. Last thing Coyle or Bolton need is for Ream’s confidence to get hammered by Rooney, Van Persie, Silva et al.

      Obviously this will depend on whether he can secure a loan signing too.


  13. […] If Tim Ream Goes Bolton… December 28th, 2011 […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 257 other followers

%d bloggers like this: