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Jermaine Jones close to joining Chicago Fire, Alexi Lalas says

United States midfielder would skip the Allocation Order and sign for about $3 million a year.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors of Jermaine Jones joining Major League Soccer have been circulating even before he played a starring role for the United States in the World Cup. But they've heated up recently, first with Chicago Fire Confidential reporting that Jones was close to joining the Chicago Fire and then Alexi Lalas effectively confirming the report during halftime of the Real Salt Lake-New York Red Bulls game.

According to Lalas' report, Jones would join MLS on a Designated Player deal that would pay him about $3 million a year. That's apparently significantly less than he was first asking for, but would still make him one of the league's top paid players. Jones would apparently be allowed to join the Fire directly, with MLS officials telling Lalas that "Designated Players of a certain threshold as determined by the league" skip the Allocation Ranking. Lalas added that Jones is just one of several players the Fire are hoping to sign in an effort "remake the organization."

Jones would undeniably be a step in that direction. The German-born midfielder has spent a good chunk of his career at Champions League-quality teams in Europe and was one of the United States top players in the World Cup. He's known as a hard-nosed centeral midfielder, a position currently filled on the Fire by Jeff Larentowicz. But the Fire could be planning to give Jones more of a free-ranging role and he was successful doing something similar as a shuttler in Jurgen Klinsmann's diamond.