Jermaine Jones definitely wants to come to North America, but part of that is the potential to cash in, a la Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. While Jones doesn’t see himself in that category, make no mistake about it: The long-time Schalke mainstay isn’t moving to Major League Soccer for purely patriotic reasons. He wants to be one of the handful of players that make European money playing in the U.S.’s league.
Unfortunately for the American international, nobody’s willing to step up to the plate, with Frank Yallop and the Chicago Fire coming closest to meeting the 32-year-old’s demands. According to one outlet’s reports, however, close hasn’t won Jones’s heart.
From reporting by Goal USA:
Sources have confirmed to Goal USA that the U.S. World Cup star has rejected a 2.5 year, $6 million guaranteed contract from the Chicago Fire, leaving his club future in doubt, and limiting his options as the summer transfer window enters its final month.
The Chicago Fire laid out a sizeable contract offer that would have made Jones one of the highest-paid players in MLS, but the 32-year-old German-American decided to pass on the deal and wait for other options to emerge. Just where those new options will be remains to be seen.
In the face of the report, Jones took to Twitter to express his appreciation of Chicago’s offer, though he refuted Goal’s details:
Good Morning my fans! The offer of chicago fire honors me! There are rumours in the news. But all the figures mentioned are not the truth.
— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) August 2, 2014
In the world of MLS, it’s not surprising to hear sources disagree on the details. Goal may be reporting full compensation. Jones may be thinking of the offer’s base salary, a figure that often doesn’t include likely incentives or commercial considerations. If Goal’s number is correct, it’s probably the high end of the range.
The bottom line: Whatever Chicago’s offering is not enough. Jones’s reference point appears to be Bradley and Dempsey, and while he may not expect $6 million per season, getting less than half may not entice him to jump the pond.
You can see both points of view. Jones may not be in line for a big contract in Germany or Turkey, but there other places that can afford to pay a prominent American from this summer’s World Cup. But from Chicago’s point of view, Jones isn’t the type of player that’s going to get people to drive to Bridgeview. There’s only so much you can invest when a player won’t create that buzz.
The one thing that always creates a buzz is winning, and in that department, there’s no question Jones will help. But will he help enough to make the Fire a draw? Chicago may not want to bet $3 million per season on that notion.