Earlier this week Alexi Lalas reported that the Chicago Fire was close to signing USMNT star Jermaine Jones. However, Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep reported early Saturday morning that Jones rejected the Fire’s offer of 6 million dollars over 2.5 years. This would have put him among the top-ten paid MLS players.
Overall, the Fire’s offer was fair. $6 million dollars over essentially three seasons would make Jones an average of 2 million a year. In addition, MLS usually offers a best and final offer and does not negotiate much, but who knows what they will do before the August 6th transfer window closing. Likewise, European teams are quickly filling up their rosters, so it is unknown if he’d have interested suitors that would offer him more.
If Jones was really serious about playing in MLS for his hometown Fire, then he would have accepted the deal. 2 million a year seems fair for a key contributor to the USMNT’s 2014 World Cup run to the knockout round. However, USMNT and Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley is making approximately $6 million a year. Yet, I’d argue that overall Bradley is better than Jones minus comparing their performances in this year’s World Cup. Bradley is also 27 years old, while Jones is 32
Jones should have taken the reported offer from Chicago. I think it will be hard for Jones to find another MLS team that is interested in paying in the range the Fire offered. Likewise, it seems unlikely that he will land a big-money deal from across the pond. It is understandable that Jones is looking for a big contract due to his solid 2014 World Cup performance. However, most clubs will consider his age and also wonder if he can sustain the level of play from the World Cup when offering Jones a hefty contract.
All in all, it seems like Jones to the Fire is dead. This is bad news for the Fire that could have been serious contenders by landing Jones. Now it seems like they need to find a plan b transfer fast. However, it seems like they were going “all-in” on Jermaine Jones, so there may not be a plan b. However, there is always trading with other teams and landing new talent, but those potential moves would not come close to landing Jones. Time is running out though for Chicago to improve their roster before the transfer window closes.