“Tim Ream, the American Dream.”
Ream has been named Fulham’s player of the season for the 2017/18 season as his commanding displays from central defensive were a key part of their return to the Premier League via the playoffs.
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Per a release from Fulham, Ream received 61 percent of the vote and finished ahead of teen sensation Ryan Sessegnon.
The USMNT center back has become somewhat of a cult hero at Fulham since arriving from Bolton Wanderers in the summer of 2015 and Ream, 30, was pivotal in the Cottagers securing promotion back to the PL after four seasons in the top-flight.
Ream came into his own under Fulham’s Serbian boss Slavisa Jokanovic — who left Ream out of the team when he initially came in — this season and started attacks from the back and could often be seen striding forward into midfield.
A ball-playing center back who made his name at the New York Red Bulls before moving to Bolton in 2012, Ream is renowned for his composure on the ball and his cultured left foot is revered down by the banks of the River Thames.
Per a club statement, Ream had the fifth-highest pass success average in the entire second-tier in 2017/18 at 88.3 percent.
His decision to sign for Fulham over west London rivals QPR back in 2015 was an inspired one and Ream’s possession-based style slots in perfectly with the system and players that Jokanovic has put together.
Ream’s rise to hero status at Craven Cottage allows the Fulhamerica days to continue in the Premier League next season…
Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.
[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]
Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.
The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.
Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.
Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.
Like the move for Newcastle?
Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.
[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]
Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.
The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.
From The Players’ Tribune:
There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.
Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.
West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.
[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]
Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.
Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.
Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.
“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”
In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.
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There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.
Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.