As of the afternoon of Friday, August 14, Tim Ream - the New York Red Bulls 2010 Defender of the Year - is still a Bolton Wanderers player. Technically.
It was reported this week that persistent suitor Queens Park Ranger had finally figured out what Bolton was asking for (around $2.7 million, including future considerations, according to The Bolton News) and submitted an acceptable bid. The Trotters' head coach, Neil Lennon, made clear he had moved on to consider what he'd do with the squad and budget space cleared by Ream in a mid-week press conference:
We think it’s good for the club, good for the squad, or otherwise we wouldn’t be making this decision at the moment.
All we were waiting for was official announcements from QPR and Bolton to be assured the deal was complete.
We're still waiting for those announcements. QPR manager Chris Ramsey admitted he felt "jittery" about the pending deal, but was hopeful it would be completed. But the notion a deal would be done by the weekend appears to be wrong.
What's the hold up? Fulham, according to The Bolton News. The paper's chief football writer, Marc Iles, reports Fulham has not given up hope of landing Ream, despite having a bid knocked back earlier in the week. And Iles points out there is incentive for the player, at least, to wait and see whether the Cottagers can table an offer to Bolton's liking: unlike QPR, Fulham is not potentially hamstrung by Financial Fair Play considerations, and may be able to provide Ream with a higher salary.
There is also, of course, the possibility that the presence of a second active bidder for the player sparks a bidding war - and that is Bolton's incentive for allowing Fulham to spin out negotiations a little longer than had been anticipated.
All the clubs involved have plenty of time: the transfer window in England does not close until September 1. So Ream's London dreams may be on hold for a while - however, Iles reports Bolton is hoping to finalize a deal this weekend and announce it next week.