Source: Bolton eyes Tim Ream

Updated: January 6, 2012, 4:49 PM ET
By Leander Schaerlaeckens | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- English Premier League club Bolton has made a formal transfer offer for New York Red Bulls and U.S. national team defender Tim Ream, a source told ESPN.com Friday.

The sides are close to an agreement, with the transfer fee likely worth somewhere between $2.5 million and $3 million, according to a source close to negotiations. Incentives for game appearances could inflate the final value of the deal.

"There's not such a big gap between the sides," the source said. "There's been significant progress in the last couple of days. Right now both sides are optimistic."

After offseason training stints with Bolton and West Bromwich Albion in December, a deal looks imminent.

"There may be a little movement today," the source said on Friday. "It could potentially be done today but more likely over the weekend."

Ream, 24, has made seven national team appearances and played in 58 MLS games since being drafted in the second round by the Red Bulls in 2010. Rumors of a move to Europe have swirled since Ream's meteoric rise to the national team after his 2010 rookie season.

Bolton, which moved out of last place in the Premier League on Wednesday, thanks to a 2-1 win over Americans Tim Howard's and Landon Donovan's Everton team, is said to be in need of a center back.

Incumbent Gary Cahill is on the verge of a move to Chelsea.

The source, however, says Bolton doesn't think of Ream as an immediate replacement. "He's not being bought to replace Cahill, but certainly Cahill would be going," he said. "Certainly, the manager [Owen Coyle] does like him in that position but it's tough to replace Cahill. And other players could be coming in, too."

Bolton also has American midfielder Stuart Holden under contract.

The Red Bulls would not confirm that a deal was imminent.

"There are a few European clubs interested in signing Tim," Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Soler said. "Other than that, we are not in a position to comment at this stage."

The completion of any deal is incumbent on Ream -- who is getting married Saturday -- being granted a British work permit.

Leander Schaerlaeckens covers soccer for ESPN.com.

Leander Schaerlaeckens

Contributing writer, ESPN.com
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a contributing writer for ESPN.com. He has previously written for The Guardian, The Washington Times and UPI.

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