Will the New England Revolution return from their Week 22 bye with a new and expensive addition to their roster?
According to a tweet from ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman on Friday, the Revolution are one of at least two clubs pursuing former Schalke central midfielder and current U.S. Men’s National Team regular Jermaine Jones, who has expressed his desire to play in MLS this season.
"We've received approval from our ownership to pursue Jermaine,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns told FOXSoccer.com on Friday. “We're interested in Jermaine and we've been in contact with MLS."
There’s no doubt that the sixth-place Revolution, in particular, could use the savvy and physical 32-year-old midfielder. Five weeks ago, they lost starting defensive midfielder Andy Dorman to an MCL injury that will sideline him through September. Since then, coach Jay Heaps has used Scott Caldwell and A.J. Soares in Dorman’s spot, with varying degrees of success.
Making matters even more urgent: The Revolution have lost nine of their last 10, and have dropped from the top of the conference to below the red playoff line.
Jones is a technically-gifted, box-to-box midfielder who started all four of the United State's matches during the 2014 World Cup. He scored a brilliant goal against Portugal during Group G play, and was one of the team’s most consistent attacking players during their tournament run.
Since earning his first national team cap in 2010, Jones has made 46 appearances with the U.S. team, scoring a total of three goals during that span. He originally appeared for his native Germany at various youth team levels before making the FIFA-permitted switch to the United States in 2009.
At the club level, Jones has spent the bulk of his 15-year professional career in Germany’s Bundesliga. He kicked off his career at Eintracht Frankfurt in 1999 before making stops at Bayer Leverkusen (2004) and Schalke (2007).
He briefly went on loan to EPL side Blackburn Rovers in 2011, and most recently played with Besiktas during the past season.
But acquiring a player of Jones’ pedigree won’t be easy -- nor will it come cheap. The Revolution will be bidding against conference rival Chicago Fire -- and possibly an additional unidentified club -- for the former Schalke midfielder’s services. Those bids will be submitted directly to the league, which will then meet with Jones and his representatives. From there, the league will presumably point Jones to the highest bidder.
Jones is reportedly seeking an annual salary in the neighborhood of $3 million, which would require the winning bidder to use a designated-player spot to defray the cost of the salary-cap hit. The Revolution currently have three such spots to work with. Should the Revolution acquire Jones, he would become the highest-paid player in club history -- and by a wide margin.
Jones left Besiktas following the 2013-14 season, with MLS as a possible destination. The MLS roster freeze is Sept. 15. With Dorman on the disabled list and striker Jerry Bengtson out on loan, the Revolution currently have 26 players on their active roster, four below the 30-man maximum.