Roy Hodgson could be plotting to steal American defender Tim Ream from under Arsene Wenger’s nose.
The New York Red Bulls’ centre-back will be training with the Baggies for a week from next Monday (5 Dec) while the club assess whether he has Premier League credentials.
He will then have atrial at Bolton as they have also expressed an interest in the 24-year-old.
Red Bulls were approached by Arsenal in the last January transfer window, initially with a seven-figure cash bid, then a loan offer, which was also rejected.
The MLS holds all players’ registrations, so they have two one-year options on Ream, but a European club could loan him from January until March while the US is in the off-season.
The main sticking point would be Red Bulls themselves and the player’s likelihood of gaining regular first-team football as they see him as a vital part of their team.
His agent, Patrick McCabe told MLSsoccer.com: “Tim certainly is interested in moving to Europe but, at the right time and under the right conditions. He still needs to play regularly and Red Bull currently provides that.”
The player has been valued at £4m by his current club, who have also stated that
bids in the region of £2.5m have been turned down in the past.
Arsenal, who have also had former player and Ream’s current Red Bulls’ team-mate, Thierry Henry training with them for the last few weeks, have been scouting the USA international for some time, including their recent play-off match against FC Dallas.
McCabe went on to say: “There are numerous teams that have been watching Tim for the last two years. I won’t comment on specific clubs at this time but they are from England, France, Holland, Scotland and Germany.
“Arsenal did make an offer to purchase Tim at the end of the 2010 season. The offer was rejected and no further negotiations followed. Red Bull was not interested in
selling Tim at that time.”
The prospect of either Bolton or West Brom making a loan deal for Ream would
certainly disappoint Arsene Wenger as he was hoping no other team would move for him until he could off-load Sebastien Squillaci’s hefty salary off the wage bill.
Red Bulls coach Hans Backe clearly thinks a lot of his star defender, speaking
about Ream in 17 March 2010, said: “He’s a center back who is comfortable and calm in possession. He plays a good passing game.
“A European-type center back who, I think, reminds me of Rio Ferdinand. Ream is strong tactically and never stressed, and of course he’s good in the air. He has a top-class attitude and spirit.”