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USMNT’s Ream signs new deal with PL-bound Fulham

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Fulham are headed to the Premier League, and U.S. men’s national team defender Tim Ream is going with them after signing a new two-year contract with the club on Friday.

[ MORE: Belgium’s golden generation reaches World Cup semifinal ]

Ream, 30, had just one year remaining on his previous contract — at a presumably less wage than his new deal, given the Cottagers spent the last four seasons in the Championship — thus there was serious doubt over whether or not he would make the first-division jump with the west London club this summer.

The St. Louis, Mo., native was named Fulham’s Player of the Season in 2017-18, a season in which he made 47 of a possible 51 league appearances (including the promotion playoffs) and was an ever-present anchor for a side that finished with the sixth-best defensive record in England’s second division.

There was even talk of a return to MLS, where he started his career with the New York Red Bulls, in 2010, before making the jump overseas a year later. Ream’s new contract also includes an option for the 2020-21 season.

Former Fulham captain Parker returns as first team coach

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Scott Parker is returning to the club where he finished his career.

With Fulham back in the Premier League, Parker has made the jump from another former club, Tottenham, to become Fulham’s new first team coach, working with manager Slavisa Jokanivic.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

“I’m delighted to join the Club this week and look forward to working with Slaviša once again, as well as with the rest of the coaching staff and players,” Parker said in a statement.

“I would like to thank everyone at Tottenham Hotspur for their support and encouragement at the very start of my coaching career with the Under-18s throughout last season, in particular John McDermott for his guidance and ongoing support. I’m looking forward now to the next step up, coaching the First Team at Fulham. I have first-hand knowledge of the quality and ambition at the Club since I was a player here, with tremendous work carried out by staff within the First Team set up and across all Academy age groups.

“I’m looking forward to getting started right away in preparation for the Premier League campaign.”

Parker spent 2013 through 2017 with Fulham, though he was with the club as it was relegated into the Championship. Parker also previously played with Spurs, Newcastle, West Ham, Chelsea, Norwich (loan) and his boyhood club Charlton, where he made his professional debut.

Parker, 37, is one of a number of former England internationals who played in the 1990s and 2000s that are going into the coaching ranks, including Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, and Michael Carrick.

Although it may be better for them to work with the youth squads (like Parker did this past year), it is still a good sign for England’s future pool of managers that some of the former best and brightest players are staying in the game as coaches.

Report: West Ham, other PL teams chasing Nice striker Plea

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According to Sky Sports reproter Kaveh Solhekol, West Ham has made a bid for Nice striker Alassane Plea and is among a number of Premier League teams interested in the prolific Frenchman.

Plea, 25 years old, broke out last season at Nice scoring 21 goals in 49 appearances over all competitions. Before last season’s 16-goal Ligue 1 haul, he had just 20 league goals in 84 appearances.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Solhekol reports that West Ham has made a bid of $36 million, which is over Nice’s asking price, reported by Solhekol as about $35 million. According to the report, newly promoted Newcastle and Fulham are both also interested in signing Plea. Newcastle would seem to make more sense than Fulham, given the Whites’ chasing of Magpie frontman Aleksander Mitrovic who spent the second half of last season on loan at Fulham and was prolific.

The report also states another, slightly lower bid has been received by Nice, but the source of that bid was not revealed.

Plea began his career in the Olympique Lyonnais youth system, but only made 12 appearances for Lyon before moving to Nice in 2014. Last season he broke out, linking well with Mario Balotelli as the two put together a solid season to lead Nice to an 8th place finish in Ligue 1, with a solid attacking haul of 53 goals to balance out a leaky defensive performance. Plea has been involved in the French U-21 international setup in the past, but has yet to make an appearance for the senior side.

USMNT’s Tim Ream named Fulham’s player of season

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“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…

Men in Blazers pod: USMNT youngsters win, Fulham promoted

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Rog and Davo break down an emotion-laden, narrative-filled Champions League final, welcome Fulham back to the Premier League party and toast a young USMNT victory over Bolivia.

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