QPR has bid accepted for USMNT’s Tim Ream, defender agreeing personal terms

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U.S. national team defender Tim Ream is closing in on a move to Queens Park Rangers.

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Ream, 27, has been linked with a move to both QPR and Fulham in the English Championship and on Thursday the manager of his current club Bolton Wanderers admitted a deal is close to being completed to see Ream’s time at the Trotters come to a close.

Sources have confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that a bid from QPR has been accepted — believed to be in the region of $2.4 million — by Bolton, and Ream is now agreeing personal terms with the R’s ahead of his move to Loftus Road.

He is expected to have a medical with QPR on Friday, while Fulham are hoping to hijack the deal but they seem to have left it too late.

Here is more from his manager at Bolton, Neil Lennon, on his potential departure.

“We’re close to agreeing a deal with QPR for Tim Ream,” Lennon said. “It frees up a wage and we’ll look to use that. Tim is a good player and has been very consistent for us. If we can get a couple of players in then it’ll improve the squad. We want to bolster the defense and bring in a quick, attacking player. We’re hoping to bring one in before the weekend.”

Ream will be a big loss for Bolton, as he’s been their back-to-back player of the season and is influential in their defense either at center back or left back.

You can understand why Ream would be interested in moving to west London and playing for QPR, as the R’s were relegated to the second-tier last season but have maintained a strong squad for a Championship outfit. Chris Ramsey’s men look well placed to challenge for an instant return to the PL and Ream has not played in the top-flight since May 2012.

When Ream joined Bolton from the New York Red Bulls in January 2012 they were still a PL club but less than six months after he arrived they were relegated to the Championship and they’ve been scrapping away in the lower reaches of that league ever since.

For QPR, Ream will likely line up at center back alongside Nedum Onuoha and become a regular for the R’s. If he does move to QPR and they challenge for promotion to the PL as expected, Ream could force his way back into the USMNT picture after being used sparingly by Jurgen Klinsmann at the 2015 Gold Cup this summer.

VIDEO: Messi scores first half hat trick for Barcelona

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Lionel Messi scored a first half hat trick for Barcelona against Eibar on Saturday.

Messi, 33, is warming up quite well for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg as he tore Eibar’s defense to shreds to put them 3-0 up at the break.

In a week where Messi and Barcelona have been in the news amid an emergency signing of Martin Braithwaite, a social media spying scandal and plenty of criticism of sporting director Eric Abidal, the Argentine ace got back to doing what he does best.

Barcelona sat in second place in the La Liga table heading into this weekend, one point behind Real Madrid.

Giroud vows “start of a good run” for Chelsea ahead of UCL

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OIivier Giroud knows he’s given Frank Lampard food for thought as Chelsea improved its top four stock with a 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Giroud scored the first goal in making just his third Premier League start and eighth league appearance under Lampard, and now has two goals in 375 minutes this season. The other came against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup.

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The Frenchman now has 79 Premier League goals, and the ex-Arsenal man will be doubly thrilled to that four of them have now come against Spurs.

“I was lucky the ball came back after hitting the post and I tried to finish,” Giroud said, via the BBC. “It was a good feeling for me, a good moment and I’m so happy for the team to win today. It’s been three months I didn’t start, it’s been a special day for me and all of us.”

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts ]

Giroud said that this was bigger for Chelsea than it was for him, though.

“It was a very important game for us today. I want to talk about the team spirit. We’ve shown great character today. We knew it was maybe a kind of turning point. We lost a bit of confidence. It was nice to bounce back and get this win, a hard win against a rival, so I feel relieved today.

“Tottenham is obviously a rival for the Champions League race, so we are pleased to put them four points behind us. This is the start of a good run, I hope, now we need to focus on the Champions League. This game would be nice for the confidence and for the changing room.”

Chelsea meets Bayern Munich on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge before a trip to Bournemouth on Feb. 29. The breathing room on fifth place is welcome.

Jose Mourinho defends players “trying to do miracles,” explains Dele move

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Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho says he can have no complaints with his shorthanded men following a 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho pointed to the absence of strikers Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane as well as a Champions League match in midweek.

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“Look at Chelsea they played a World Cup-winning striker up front, England’s second striker on the bench, and Belgium’s second striker in the stands,” he said, via Football.London. “We had no strikers on the pitch, no strikers on the bench and two in the hospital.”

Chelsea were the much better side on the day, with Olivier Giroud making a statement to Frank Lampard about his ability as a center forward.

And Mourinho felt sufficiently shorthanded on the day, especially given the exhausting 1-0 loss to RB Leipzig at midweek.

“Lucas, Lo Celso, Bergwijn,” he said. “These boys that are playing every minute and trying to do miracles in positions that are not their positions. I cannot complain.”

Mourinho also defended keeping Dele Alli on the bench for the first time in his tenure as Spurs boss.

“We had strange game plans but we needed to have them. Like Lamela who played well, people think I’m stupid that I don’t play him, but he’s constantly communicating with me in the warm-up, can I play or not. He was telling me his feelings.”

Spurs will finish the weekend four points back of the top four and as many as two back of fifth. They have eight days until another big match, March 1 versus Wolves.

Watch Live: Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday

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If you want to follow the scores from every single league across the UK, Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday has you covered from 10 a.m. ET and you can watch it live via NBC Sports Gold.

WATCH SOCCER SATURDAY LIVE 

Jeff Stelling and his panel of esteemed former professional players host the show from Sky’s studios in London and Sky have reporters based at grounds across the UK from the Premier League to League Two and all across Scotland’s four divisions and the Welsh Premier League.

With the National League (fifth tier) also reported on, they literally have every single league covered. There is an intriguing Matchweek 27 coming up in the Premier League in particular.

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You can also access additional Premier League games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

WATCH EVERY PREMIER LEAGUE GAME

Click on the link above to watch the Soccer Saturday lads in action as a wonderful accompaniment to all of the live Premier League games you can watch across NBC Sports’ platforms.