Tim Ream finally completed his long-awaited move to Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League on Thursday, as all paperwork and red tape was cleared for the arrival of the former New York Red Bulls center back.
Ream himself was delighted to sign with Bolton and admitted that despite strong interest from another EPL outfit, he felt wanted at Reebok Stadium.
“I think the biggest thing was that West Brom just wanted me on loan for a couple of months with an option to buy,” Ream told reporters at a press conference in England on Thursday. “But [Bolton] wanted me permanently right away. After speaking with the manager, I just felt comfortable straight away.”
That comforting feeling was also resonated from the playing staff, as Ream spent a week training with Bolton over the Christmas period. The St. Louis native becomes the second US international to move from MLS to Bolton over the last few seasons, after Stuart Holden left the Houston Dynamo in January 2010 to join the Wanderers, who are currently just one-point above the EPL relegation zone. Holden and his teammates certainly left an impression on the St. Louis University graduate in his short training stint.
“Meeting the players, they all made me feel very welcome from the beginning,” said Ream. “That's something that was important to me.”
Bolton manager Owen Coyle felt it was highly important to get his man in Ream, even if Gary Cahill’s much-anticipated move to Chelsea had fallen through. However, Cahill was sold to the Blues for almost $11 million during the January transfer window, and Ream, in the eyes of many, came in as Cahill’s replacement.
But not to Coyle.
“[Ream] is completely different,” the Bolton manager said of the comparison to Cahill. “He is a left-sided center back as opposed to Gary being right-sided. But even if Gary had still been at the club, I still would have been looking to sign Tim Ream because of the quality that I believe he has. I believe in how well he will develop.”
Coyle also sung the praises of MLS players in general, saying that was one of the reasons why they rated Ream so highly.
“A lot of the MLS players come into the Premier League and they show their quality,” said Coyle. “That’s why we believe he will be a real success.”
Ream has put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half-year contract and has been handed the No. 32 shirt for the Lancashire outfit. The US international defender was pleased to dedicate his future to the EPL side, after positive words from his new manager.
“[Coyle] said he was going to do everything he could to get me here," Ream said. "That’s something that really stuck with me and really made me happy and made me want to be here.”