The New York Red Bulls seem resigned to losing Tim Ream to Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League, and they are already planning to bring in reinforcements to their back line.
Earlier in the offseason, RBNY sporting director Erik Solér quashed rumors of Ream’s transfer abroad. However, Solér now sounds fairly certain the former St. Louis University star’s future will lie an ocean away from Red Bull Arena.
“It’s more likely that he could end up abroad then it was before Christmas,” Soler told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday. “That means that we’re in the process of some discussions. It’s getting closer.”
The left-footed defender's two years with the club look to be coming to an end sooner rather than later, as he impressed while training with both West Brom and Bolton in December. And it is Bolton who are expected to sign Ream in a multimillion-dollar transfer deal.
Yet there are still the final details to hash out, as Ream’s agent Pat McCabe told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday afternoon that, contrary to reports in the English press, negotiations are still ongoing and no deal has been agreed.
Ream, who has started at the center of the Red Bulls defense since being drafted in 2010, has made seven appearances with the national team and caught the eye of his English suitors while training with the Wanderers this offseason.
Solér confirmed on Wednesday that Swede Markus Holgersson will likely join the Red Bulls even if Ream ends up staying in MLS. Holgersson, a 6-foot-3 defender, recently won league and cup honors in Sweden with Helsingborg.
“He’s a central defender, that is his best position,” Solér said. “He was their main man in defense, meaning he was their boss back there. He’s with the Swedish national team right now; he’s traveling with them tomorrow. I’m very confident he will do well for us. He’s a big, physical strong defender.”
The rest of the defense should remain strong, with center back Stephen Keel signing an offseason deal and right back Jan Gunnar Solli, a converted midfielder, expected back with the club. So, too, is Roy Miller, who will be with the team for his third year.
Solér noted that if Ream should leave, he has a “very exciting option” in central defense, a potential signing beyond Holgersson.
However the sporting director said he’s holding onto this player “in our back pocket.”
Kristian R. Dyer cover the Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com