OWEN Coyle is keeping his fingers crossed that red tape does not get in the way of his plans to sign United States defender Tim Ream as he looks to plug the gap left by Gary Cahill’s transfer to Chelsea.

The £2.5million deal for the New York Red Bulls defender is expected to be concluded by the end of this week and it will then be left to the authorities to decide whether to give the Missouri-born 24-year-old permission to play in the UK.

And Coyle accepts that is not a forgone conclusion.

“It’s well documented that we are very keen on Tim Ream and we’re hopeful that this week that comes to fruition,” the Bolton boss said.

“In the next few days there will be further dialogue and I’d be very hopeful we could get everything in place to then get the work permit – but the last thing we’d do would be to take that for granted.

“We are certainly pushing on in that respect.”

Ream has made seven international appearances for the US, two of which came in Gold Cup matches – not enough to meet work-permit requirements that stipulate a player must have played 75 per cent of international fixtures he was available for over a two-year period.

But Wanderers are hoping the authorities can be persuaded that he has the credentials and is of the required calibre – underlined by the fact that they are paying a substantial fee – to merit the granting of a permit.

Coyle, meanwhile, has played down talk that he is looking to make a move for Tottenham’s out-of-favour Mexican wide man Giovani Dos Santos.

“We haven’t been speaking to the lad,” said the Wanderers boss of the £4m-rated former Barcelona forward.

“He’s a very talented player but we know there are are lot of talented players at a lot of world-class clubs.

“We know the areas we want to strengthen and we are pursuing a few targets. It’s important that we get one or two in but they have to be the right type.”

Wanderers have also been linked with three Leeds United players, defensive duo Aidy White and Tom Lees and midfielder Adam Clayton.