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Rumor: Tim Ream wants to play, and he'll come back to MLS if that's what it takes

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The rumor mill is back in action.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The summer transfer window is closed in most of the markets that matter around the world, but the rumor mill turns regardless, simply switching its attention to the January transfer season.

Tim Ream - once of the New York Red Bulls, then Bolton Wanderers, now Fulham - is getting his name out there as an early contender for some rumor mill attention when the winter transfer gossip hots up. Per Kristian Dyer's Red Bulls Insider segment for MSG Networks, the defender is apparently on the radar of "several MLS teams" having let it be known he's simultaneously "very happy with Fulham" but also "if minutes aren't there" he's open to other options.

Minutes aren't there at the moment: Ream has played five in the Championship so far this season.

Time for Ream to come back to MLS? Not so fast. Its early days in the Championship - just five rounds have been played. Fulham is flying high - second in the table at the moment - but there are plenty of games yet to play, and opportunities for an out-of-favor defender to find his way back into the starting lineup.

Also, Ream was reportedly signed to a four-year deal by Fulham last summer. So if he is to move, it will likely have to be for a transfer fee of some sort. MLS clubs are warming up to the idea of transfer fees for incoming players, but it is still not the preferred way of doing business.

Still, if Ream is ready to flee Fulham less than 18 months after joining the club, he will surely explore options in MLS. He is a USA national-teamer from time to time, and made his name in the league. The 28-year-old isn't an obvious fit for a return to the New York Red Bulls. He is in his prime as a player, but unless RBNY is planning to clear out the defense this winter and needs a new senior defender to lead the back line, it is hard to see where he fits. Not least because he isn't an obvious RalfBall player, nor of the age to appeal to the RalfBall transfer policy.

The RBNY variation of RalfBall does appear to have more scope for acquiring veteran players than the RB Leipzig model, so maybe Ream will find someone at his old club to answer his calls if the situation at Fulham becomes untenable.

We will see if this rumor gathers any strength between now and January, and whether RBNY's roster moves indicate any space is being cleared for senior additions to the back line.