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Why Jermaine Jones won’t land in Major League Soccer

Jan 6, 2014, 6:26 PM EDT

Costa Rica v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Getty Images

Here’s where people start adding 2 + 2, and somehow arrive at 5:

Jermaine Jones seems out of favor at FC Schalke 04 in Germany.

Jermaine Jones is a U.S. international who has expressed interest in wearing an MLS jersey at some point.

So … we all wonder if Jones may be bound for MLS in the January window. That’s the “5” in this scenario.

And an MLS arrival could happen. On the other hand, here’s why it probably won’t:

There is absolutely no question that Jones could help most MLS clubs. Beyond Seattle (Osvaldo Alonso) and Real Salt Lake (Kyle Beckerman), Jones would represent at upgrade at the defensive midfield position. At some addresses, like New York or Los Angeles, he would elevate the midfield, pushing someone (Dax McCarty, Juninho or Marcelo Sarvas, for instance) into a connecting role or a slightly more attacking role.

Bottom line, there are plenty of MLS clubs that could use Jones’ talent and that added element of contagious fearlessness that Jurgen Klinsmann rates so highly. (Plus, think of marketing possibilities … like JJ sno fro night!)

But it probably won’t happen. In a nutshell, the economics of the domestic game are against it.

First, MLS clubs typically don’t open the wallet for defensive midfielders. Most of the money is going to those in “sexier” positions, the goal scorers or playmakers.

Second, Jones is 32. That’s the age where a smart player understands he has one big contract left. Jones surely wants to capitalize, and Major League Soccer probably isn’t the place to do so. Not when he can make more money by staying in Europe – whether that’s another run in England, another German club or whatever – even if he won’t be a featured man on the roster as he would be here.

Finally, it would be even more difficult for an MLS club to justify Jones’ salary with full knowledge that he would miss a big chunk of the summer fulfilling World Cup duty. (Plus, whatever matches he would miss while serving the (let’s face it) inevitable suspensions for red cards and yellow card accumulation.

  1. dfstell - Jan 6, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    Preach. The league just isn’t set up financially to compete with European salaries unless the player is a DP and a 32 year old D-mid probably isn’t what any smart team is spending DP money on.

    Would Jones have to go through that allocation process? Or not because he hasn’t played in MLS before? Or not because he’d be a DP?

    • talgrath - Jan 6, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      If Jones wasn’t signed as a Designated Player, he would go through the allocation process. USMNT players (whether or not they played in MLS) and former MLS players who went abroad on a transfer go through allocation unless signed as a Designated Player.

  2. hildezero - Jan 6, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    @dfstell,

    You basically answered your own question.

  3. talgrath - Jan 6, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    I think it’s possible a team might sign Jermaine Jones as a Designated Player, given the opportunity; but not at a Dempsey-sized contract. At best, I think Jones Could get $1 million, but $500,000 would be closer; but of course that would be too little compared to his current salary especially since he may be looking to make more.

  4. tylerbetts - Jan 6, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Seems like we might have a perfect fit, were this happening a year from now. NYCFC would have the cash, the DP slots, and a desire to make a splash. Plus, there is no doubt that Jones would work well in Kreis’s system, in the Beckerman role.

  5. Scott Fenwick - Jan 7, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    “MLS clubs typically don’t open the wallet for defensive midfielders.” Case in point: Arevalo Rios. And he’s better than Jermaine Jones.

    Cheers Steve

    • bear06 - Jan 7, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      No, he was getting paid about $900K with the Fire. Also Alonso just became a DP and Jones is a better player than him. Jones is easily DP ($500K-1M would be fair) worthy but I don’t think he’s moving to MLS until after the World Cup.

  6. hildezero - Jan 7, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    @Scott Fenwick,

    Jones is better than Arevalo Ríos, dawg…

  7. juberish - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    This statement “There is absolutely no question that Jones could help most MLS clubs. Beyond Seattle (Osvaldo Alonso) and Real Salt Lake (Kyle Beckerman), Jones would represent at upgrade at the defensive midfield position. At some addresses, like New York or Los Angeles, he would elevate the midfield, pushing someone (Dax McCarty, Juninho or Marcelo Sarvas, for instance) into a connecting role or a slightly more attacking role.”

    WTF is this statement? Dax and Jununho are top holding\box-to-box midfielders in MLS.. there’s no objective way to separate them from Alonso or Beckerman. This article is just silly.

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