New England has acquired U.S. international midfielder Jermaine Jones on a free transfer after winning his rights in a blind draw.
Jones, 32, finally agreed to terms with MLS on Sunday morning to conclude a lengthy and protracted set of negotiations with the league. He is expected to make $4.7 million over the course of an 18-month deal, ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas reported on Sunday night.
MLS exercised its discretion to pull Jones out of the allocation order with both Chicago and New England willing to meet the asking price for his services. After pondering several options, MLS opted to hold a blind draw to determine the allocation of Jones’ rights. New England emerged victorious from the blind draw on Sunday morning and won the right to land Jones for the stretch run.
“I’m very excited to come to MLS and join the Revolution,” Jones said in a statement. “New England is an exciting team on the rise, and I believe I can come in and help the team make a push toward MLS Cup. Playing with the U.S. National Team has given me a great connection with the American fans and I’m looking forward to playing in front of them every weekend. I’m ready to get started with the Revs.”
The peculiar distribution allowed the Revs to make the most significant expenditure in the club’s history. Jones is the fourth Designated Player in club history and the first player to make more than seven figures for the club.
“This is a great opportunity for us to add one of the best players in the United States to our club,” Revolution investor/operator Jonathan Kraft said in 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. Robert 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.”
Chicago Fire head coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop issued a statement expressing his club’s disappointment at missing out on the chance to land the former Schalke midfielder and the recent World Cup star.
"The Chicago Fire Soccer Club has pursued Jermaine Jones as a free agent signing over the past month and a half, and have gone to great lengths to bring him into Major League Soccer and our organization,” Yallop said. “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.”