For the second time in less than a year, U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Jermaine Jones is reportedly pushing for a move to MLS, and coming off what has been a successful World Cup so far, he could make the leap in the coming weeks.
Ives Galarcep reported on Goal.com on Friday that Jones is looking to make the move to the United States, and among other things, has been readily available to press throughout the World Cup in order to raise his profile stateside. Couple that with his turn as arguably the USMNT's MVP through the tournament to date, and the reported MLS lack of interest in him in January may disappear.
Galarcep says that a major driving force in the lack of interest in Jones in the last transfer window, who has played most of his career in Germany (with brief stops in England and most recently Turkey), was his salary demands, said to be north of $2 million annually. He's probably improved his stock in Brazil, but he likely also needs to assess his priority - money or location? If it's the former, he may need to stay in Europe, but if it's the latter, he may be willing to come down on his asking price a bit in order to accommodate a league that doesn't hand out multimillion deals very easily.
Greg Lalas reported in MLSsoccer.com on Saturday Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes' comments on the report. Vermes did reveal MLS is in talks with Jones about signing with the league, though he was coy about Sporting's interest in the midfielder. The reason Kansas City is being mentioned in association with Jones is because they just sold their starting defensive midfielder, Oriol Rosell, to Portugal's Sporting Clube.
Among the other teams mentioned in the Goal.com report is of course Chivas USA. The main reason for this is that Jones keeps a home in Los Angeles where he lives with his family in the offseason. Since the LA Galaxy currently have three Designated Players, the thinking goes, CUSA seems like the logical destination.
While I wouldn't be at all surprised if CUSA is in fact a player in this story, there are multiple reasons why it would be difficult and/or unlikely:
- Chivas USA also have three DPs at the moment (Erick Torres, Mauro Rosales, and Oswaldo Minda). The easiest way (and it's probably not that easy) to get out of this, besides just buying out a contract or trading/transferring one of these players, would be to pay down Minda's deal, if there is any Allocation Money available to do it. Minda doesn't actually make a lot for a DP and he's a DP by virtue of his transfer fee.
- Minda is an underrated d-mid in MLS. I'm not sure I'd go as far to say which player is better between him and Jones, but Minda just came off a pair of starts at the World Cup, too. It's certainly possible both players could fit together in some tactical systems, but among this club's many problems at the moment, Minda's place as a Top 3 talent on the team renders the logic of Jones coming perhaps unnecessary.
- Chivas USA's ownership situation: It's hard to really forecast anything at the moment regarding the future of this club. If new owners are in place, are they already working on building the team for the future? Or is the league-appointed regime hanging out in a holding pattern, trying to tread water before new owners arrive? Even if a move like this made 100 percent sense, there's no assertion at the moment it would happen.
- The Allocation Order: Look, this can be dealt with if a team is desperate enough to get a player. Supposedly, a USMNT DP wouldn't need to go through the Allocation Order, if the earth shattering precedent of Clint Dempsey to the Seattle Sounders is maintained. Also, Chivas jumped up in the Allocation Order just last season to grab Carlos Bocanegra. The Goats currently sit in 11th place. They would need to make a pretty good deal with the top team at the moment, which is Toronto FC, to get in pole position. And that would mean money or a player, since the cupboard is pretty much bare when it comes to Chivas USA draft picks in the next couple seasons (they currently hold picks in 2015 for the 3rd and 4th rounds, which won't be enough on their own to entice TFC).
So if Jones-to-MLS happens but if the story drags on a bit, there will continue to be speculation tying him to Chivas USA. I'd say it's possible, but not all that likely, considering the reasons above. Of course, Bocanegra's arrival to CUSA last season looked impossible before it happened, so you never know.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!