[MLS TRANSACTIONS]Jermaine Jones is finally coming to MLS, perhaps not to the club he originally wished to, but the 2014 U.S. World Cup team star will play for the New England Revolution after a blind draw conducted by MLS. Jones, who last played in Europe for Turkish club Besiktas, was a free agent and has been living at his home in Los Angeles since the end of the World Cup. Jones was also pursued by Chicago, the city in which he was born.
GP/G CLUB (COUNTRY, YEARS)
10/0 Besiktas(Turkey, 2014)
129/7 Schalke 04 (Germany, 2007-13)
15/0 Blackburn Rovers (England, 2011)
38/5 Eintracht Frankfurt(Germany, 2005-07)
5/0 Bayer Leverkusen (Germany, 2004-05)
46/7 Entrance Frankfurt(Germany, 1999-2004)
MLS roster rules note that Designated Players of a certain threshold -- as determined MLS -- are not subject to allocation ranking. Jones joined Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley in being assigned via mechanism outside the allocation ranking. But unlike Dempsey and Bradley, whose only serious suitors were Seattle and Toronto FC, respectively, both two clubs -- the Revs and Fire -- wanted Jones. The signing marks the most significant acquisition by the Revs, who have usually stayed on the sidelines as rival clubs have upped their spending.
“This is a great opportunity for us to add one of the best players in the United States to our club,” said Revolution investor/operator Jonathan Kraftin a statement. “We thought Jermaine was the best player for the U.S. in the World Cup and we are excited to welcome him to New England. [Father] Robert [Kraft] and I have always said that any major DP signing would need to make an impact, on and off the field, and we believe the addition of Jermaine will do just that. When we learned that he was interested in signing with MLS, we immediately informed the league of our interest. He is a dynamic player and is certain to have a tremendous impact on our team and in our community. We look forward to his many contributions.”
Goal.com had reported earlier in the week that Jones was ready to sign with an MLS club, and he wanted to join Chicago -- or New England but at a higher salary than MLS was willing to approve. It later reported that MLS got Jones to agree to a deal on the condition that a blind draw be held to determine which team -- the Revs or Fire -- got him.
The Fire had traded Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to Chivas USA for allocation money in a deal seemingly designed to make room for the acquisition of Jones, whom Goal.com reported will be paid $4.5 million over two seasons. That money would have been unimaginable six months ago when Jones was first seeking a move to MLS after Schalke 04 let him go, but an excellent World Cup for the USA increased his value on the MLS market.
"The Chicago Fire Soccer Club has pursued Jermaine Jones as a free agent signing over the past month and a half," said Fire head coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop, "and have gone to great lengths to bring him into Major League Soccer and our organization. We thought that he'd be a great fit in Chicago. While we’re deeply disappointed that he will not be a part of the Fire, we respect the system employed by MLS and wish Jermaine well with his new club. This result does not alter our vision of building a complete side and we’ll continue to move forward with this process as planned.”
The deal was notable on another front as it marked the first collaboration between longtime MLS agents Richard Motzkin and Ron Waxman.