Jermaine Jones

Jermaine Jones reportedly turns down latest offer from Chicago Fire

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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:

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.

Report: Atletico’s Fernando Torres has interest from MLS, NASL

Real Madrid v Atletico de Madrid - Copa del Rey: Round of 16
Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
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Spanish outlet Marca claims that a number of North American sides are among the clubs chasing Fernando Torres.

The Spanish striker has only scored more than 11 goals once since 2009-10, and is uncapped since 2014. But that doesn’t mean clubs from China to to the U.S. and the UAE to Japan aren’t interested in the 31-year-old.

[ JPW: Recapping the top stories from an intense Premier League weekend ]

The Marca report claims three MLS teams are interested and also name drops the New York Cosmos of the NASL, who’ve recently brought Venezuelan legend Juan Arango on board.

It’s hard to imagine anyone outside the MLS rich sides taking a risk on Torres. Maybe Montreal would look to reunite him with Didier Drogba, and Torres certainly has experience combining with New York City’s David Villa. As for the third… Orlando City? Chicago?

Your guess is as good as ours, though it could be moot if this is solely about money. China continues to spend well.

Difficult fixture run looms as Aston Villa aims for great escape

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Joleon Lescott of Aston Villa (3L) celebrates with team mates as he scores their first goal with a header during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Crystal Palace at Villa Park on January 12, 2016 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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Gabriel Agbonlahor is riding high, as the Premier League Player of the Week broke his duck this weekend and is thinking “great escape” for his Aston Villa side.

Villa has eight points in its last five matches, doubling its season total to 16. That’s still table bottom, but Remi Garde’s bunch would love to see their way out of the drop zone after a brutal start to the season under Tim Sherwood.

What would it take for Villa to pull that off, and avoid the first Premier League relegation in club history?

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Week ]

Turns out, a lot.

There is no easy match in the next five, and Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are all on the schedule after that.

Villa next five matches
Feb. 14 – vs. Liverpool
Feb. 27 – at Stoke City
March 1 – vs. Everton
March 5 – at Manchester City
March 12 – vs. Spurs

The Villans do have three relegation six-pointers left, and two of those are at Villa Park with Bournemouth and Newcastle United. Villa also heads to Swansea City.

But Villa has to make up 12 points on the Cherries, 11 on Swans and eight on the Magpies. And while they are within two goals difference of Newcastle, they have eight goals to make up on Bournemouth and 11 to make up on Swansea.

That doesn’t include Sunderland and Norwich, sides four and seven points ahead of the Villans (though both have tricky runs left as well).

If Garde’s club is to make its escape, it will be close to unbelievable. That it will close with a match against Arsenal makes it even trickier, but that would be just the final impressive note in what could only be considered a Garde-conducted masterpiece.

VIDEO: Recapping the top stories from an intense Week 25 in the Premier League

JPW at Stamford Bridge
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What a weekend. Let’s relive it.

Round 25 of the Premier League provided plenty more thrills, shocks and excitement as two unlikely title contenders — Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur — are pushing ahead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Our own Joe Prince-Wright recaps all the major headlines from what could turn out to be a pivotal weekend in the Premier League title race.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League news

Click play on the video below to join JPW as he battles the elements and checks in from outside Stamford Bridge in London following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

WATCH: USMNT’s Gonzalez nets first for Pachuca, earns exuberant “Gol” call

Marouane Fellaini, ,Omar Gonzalez
AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
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Come for the goal, stay for the “Gol” call.

Or should we say the “Gol. Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Gol” call.

[ MORE: Angry Louis van Gaal rips journalists for “inventing” stories ]

USMNT defender Omar Gonzalez has opened his account for Pachuca with this 88th minute header, and it’s worth it if just for the auditory performance.

Gonzalez also pulls out the high-capacity weapon celebration, though he’s apparently opted to do the version closer to the “Scarface” finale (Spoiler alert).