UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – New York Red Bulls center back Tim Ream confirmed on Tuesday morning that English Premier League club Arsenal is interested in his services.
Ream was rumored to have drawn interest from the North London giants, who had reportedly sent a scout to trail the 2010 Rookie of the Year runner-up during the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“I guess that’s common knowledge now,” Ream said of the interest from Arsenal. “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 that 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.”
While Ream said it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” the 24-year-old defender did not offer specifics about the Gunners’ interest. Ream just completed his second year with the Red Bulls, and the club still holds two option years on his contract.
Ream stated that he does “love playing [in New York], love the guys, love the team,” but will remain open to offers from potential European suitors.
“If someone comes to Erik [Solér, Red Bulls GM] and the coaching staff and want me to possibly come over on a loan deal, I think we’ll explore that, that opportunity,” he said. “If someone comes to us, so be it, but I’m not actively searching out places to go.”
Whether or not a loan deal materializes, Ream said that he could be given the opportunity to train during the offseason with Red Bull Salzburg – New York’s sister club – or Premier League side West Bromwich Albion.
US men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made it a point that MLS-based national team prospects need to continue training after the MLS season to stay sharp and continue their development for the international stage. While Ream will not be in camp when the US travel to take on France and Slovenia over the upcoming international break, he has been called up to every one of Klinsmann’s prior rosters.
“He’s kind of setting all that up,” Ream said of potential offseason training sites. “He has contacts with just about every team. Himself and the rest of the [US] staff, they’ve been in contact with myself, my agent [to] work out ways to get over there and train for the next three, four weeks.”