A deal to bring the American to Major League Soccer has hit a snag after the league's unwillingness to ensure which club he would join, sources have confirmed to Goal USA.
Sources have confirmed to Goal USA that Jones has agreed to a contract structure to join the Chicago Fire, but because MLS cannot guarantee that Jones will be allocated to the Fire, contract talks with MLS have hit an impasse, and no contract has been signed.
The New England Revolution and Chicago Fire are both interested in Jones’ services, but sources tell Goal USA that Jones would prefer to sign with the Fire. Jones would be willing to join the Revolution, but only for a larger salary figure, something sources say MLS is unwilling to arrange in order to have Jones sign with the league.
League officials could not be reached for comment.
As reported by Goal USA earlier this month, Jones rejected a two-and-a-half year, $6 million contract offer to join the Fire earlier this month, but negotiations with MLS continued, which opened the door for the Revolution to enter the conversation to sign the World Cup standout. Jones, who originally had desires to play in or closer to Los Angeles to be closer to his family, has chosen to accept the most recent MLS contract offer to play for the Fire, but sources tell Goal USA that MLS is not willing to guarantee that Jones would be sent to the Fire upon signing a deal.
That stance is a puzzling one considering how the acquisitions of U.S. national team starters and designated players have been treated in the past. U.S. regulars have traditionally signed with MLS knowing which team they were signing to play with. The same has applied to all of the designated players previously signed by MLS.
Why the league is handling Jones differently remains a mystery, but as things stand, Jones might wind up having to seek options in Europe if he and MLS can’t come to an agreement before the league’s roster-freeze deadline of Sept. 15.
Adding to the confusion surrounding the league’s attempts to sign Jones is the uncertainty surrounding just how he will be assigned to a team. Sources confirmed to Goal USA that Jones will not go through the MLS allocation order.
Time is of the essence for both teams chasing Jones. Both the Fire and the Revolution are currently chasing playoff spots in the East. Both teams are currently out of playoff position, but the Revs are one point behind fifth-place New York Red Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East, while the Fire sit three points back.