While the business end of the MLS season is quickly approaching, many teams are already looking ahead to 2014, as they are out of the playoff mix. Although it is unclear if Chivas USA is really planning for next season just yet, one rumor making the rounds could involve the Goats. U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Jermaine Jones is reportedly getting ready to move to Los Angeles from Germany, and is ready to make the leap to MLS, perhaps as soon as this winter.
If Jones is indeed moving to MLS, and is planning on living in Los Angeles with his family, then the next question is which team he would join. Of course, the LA Galaxy and, yes, Chivas USA would shoot to the top of the list. And with the Galaxy currently carrying the maximum allotted three Designated Players, to go with the relatively settled central midfield partnership of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas, then Chivas has to be considered at the very least a plausible destination for Jones.
Of course, there are multiple caveats to this speculation. First, is Jones interested in playing for Chivas? Along with that, would Chivas be willing to splash some cash to bring him in? Prior to the last transfer window I would have said no way, but the signing of Carlos Bocanegra could represent a sea change in Jorge Vergara's approach to Chivas USA. At the same time, Bocanegra turned out to be a good value, signing for less-than-DP wages, and the fact that Chivas de Guadalajara is foundering badly may mean that Vergara might prioritize his struggling clubs and put most of his investment in the Mexican club this winter.
Consider also that Bocanegra was obtained by Chivas through the Allocation Order, after trading with Toronto FC for the necessary slot. The talk was that Bocanegra was only interested in playing for an LA-based club, and while it's unclear whether there was demand for his services from other MLS clubs or not, he ended up getting his way. Of course, the point of the Allocation Order is to prevent USMNT players from demanding where they will end up. With the brouhaha over the signing of Clint Dempsey by the Seattle Sounders this year, the league may or may not be willing to play gymnastics in order to help Jones play where he wants. On top of that, while Jones has been a fixture on the national team for the past few years, and is a regular starter at Schalke, a club that has been in UEFA Champions League play in recent seasons (including the current one), he does not have the star power of Dempsey, and that could also prevent him from calling his shot and playing in LA.
Would Jones even be a good fit for Chivas USA? Undoubtedly. Although he has plenty of detractors, his position as effectively a midfield destroyer means his style of play is often ugly but it gets the job done more often than not. And he's an underrated passer. Sure, he draws cards like crazy, but with a decent backup and the style of play in MLS that would largely complement his game, he could really help a team like Chivas, especially if they decide to get rid of Oswaldo Minda, something they have tried to do repeatedly this season.
Interestingly, SB Nation Portland Timbers blog Stumptown Footy wrote an article about how Jones could get to an MLS club, but after raising the possibility he could join Chivas, they pretty much ignored that angle. Again, with the exception of Bocanegra, that isn't a surprising mode of thinking, really.
At this stage is it likely Jones will become a Goat? No, this rumor is very much in the speculation realm right now. Using past precedent and connecting some dots, it's far from a rumor with legs, but it is something we'll keep an eye on and see if there's more to it.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!