The long rumored transfer of Tim Ream to Premier League side Bolton is now complete, as the former New York Red Bulls center back passed his physical and agreed to personal terms on Thursday. Financial terms of the deal were not formally announced, but previous reports have pegged the transfer fee at anywhere between $2.5 million and $3.5 million. The contract Ream signed is reportedly for 3.5 years and will pay him £20,000 pounds per week, a significant raise over the roughly $65,000 a year he was making in MLS.
"We are extremely happy for Tim," Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler said in a team release. "He has worked very hard since he joined Major League Soccer and became a Red Bull and we firmly believe that this opportunity will be beneficial to him and the Red Bulls. This was a difficult decision for us as a club, but at the end of the day, we could not turn down this opportunity to help Tim’s development as a player."
The transfer is the most valuable for a defensive player in MLS history and could be just one of several moves involving MLS players heading to England this offseason. Robbie Rodgers has already joined Leeds United, George John is currently on loan at West Ham and Sebastien Le Toux is on trial at Bolton.
In Ream, Bolton saw a ready replacement for the recently departed Gary Cahill. Manager Owen Coyle has indicated he expects Ream to compete for a starting spot in the relatively near future and while Ream won't be particularly highly paid among fellow Premiership centerbacks, a team like Bolton doesn't spend that kind of money just to fill out the roster.
As a player acquired through the SuperDraft with two years of experience, the Red Bulls will receive half of that transfer fee, $650,000 of which can be spent in to the form of allocation money. Considering they still have an open Designated Player spot, the Red Bulls suddenly have a lot of flexibility to fill what are looking to be some significant roster holes.