Jermaine Jones has been pushing hard for a move to Major League Soccer since before the 2014 World Cup ended, and while it remains unclear whether the U.S. national team star will actually play in MLS, one team has emerged as a serious player for the midfielder’s services.
The Chicago Fire look to be the front-runner for Jones’ services in MLS, with a report from ChicagoNow.com on Tuesday being the first to link the Fire to a bid for the 32-year-old German American. Fire head coach Frank Yallop confirmed the interest to reporters after Wednesday’s 0-0 tie vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“We have interest in the player for sure,” Yallop told media on Wednesday. “We’ve spoken to the agent, but at this point there’s nothing to add until someone agrees or it gets concluded. The truth of the matter is we have interest in the player but nothing has been finalized yet. That’s all I can say on it for now.”
Sources told Goal USA last winter that Jones would be pursuing a Designated Player contract, and there is little reason to believe he would be seeking anything less after a World Cup that saw him be, arguably, the U.S. team’s most outstanding player of the tournament.
It was believed for some time that Jones would angle for a move to one of the league’s Los Angeles-based teams, but with the Galaxy lining up a move for Sacha Kljestan and Chivas USA in the process of trying to sell the team, a big-money contract in LA seems highly unlikely for the former Schalke midfielder.
Despite Jones’ very public push for a move to MLS, which has included various tweets and Instagram messages in recent weeks, interest in him around the league hasn’t been as high as would be expected for a player who had such a strong World Cup.
The reality is that finding a seven-figure deal as a 32-year-old defensive midfielder won’t be easy, but with ESPN’s Alexi Lalas reporting that Jones is close to signing a $3 million deal with the Fire, Jones just might have found a team willing to make the sizable investment.
The Fire make sense as a destination for Jones given the team’s need for a stronger presence in central midfield and the team’s track record of being willing to spend on designated players. The Fire currently sit five points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and adding Jones could help provide much-needed support for a defense that has been a shambles this season.