Jermaine Jones has finally signed with MLS, and he will be joining the New England Revolution. Jones will be eligible to play for the Revs immediately, but he hasn't played since the end of the United States' World Cup run on July 1, so he will probably need a week or two to get fit before he takes the field.
According to Alexi Lalas, Jones will be paid $4.7 million in a deal that will take him through the end of 2015 season. The midfielder ended up in New England after a blind draw between them and the Chicago Fire, who also wanted the international.
There has been considerable drama surrounding Jones' move to MLS since the end of the World Cup. After his spectacular performance in Brazil, he made it clear that his preference was to live in the U.S. and play in MLS, but he wasn't going to do it for cheap. The league was going to step up and pay him, as well as put him in a city he wanted to play in. That proved to be a rough process.
It was thought that Jones wanted to stay in Los Angeles, where he has a home, but neither the LA Galaxy nor Chivas USA have an available DP spot. Next, the Fire looked like Jones' landing spot, but he, the league and the team struggled to come to an agreement on his wages. And when they finally did reportedly agree to a contract, a new wrinkle caused a problem -- the Revolution also wanted him.
Jones preferred to sign with the Fire, according to multiple reports, and was demanding more money to go to the Revolution. It was also unclear how he was to be allocated, because he was originally supposed to go through regular allocation, but that didn't happen.
Finally, MLS agreed to pay Jones more to go to New England, but would not just put him on the Revolution. The league held the blind draw, giving the Fire a chance, but the Revolution won out and Jones got his extra money and a spot with New England.
Maybe most amazingly, the notoriously cheap Robert Kraft finally showed enough interest in the Revolution to sign a big-money player, a team that until now had zero DPs.
The Revolution are just one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and Jones could be the man who pushes them into the top five. New England have a lot of good, skillful attackers, but they can be shaky at the back and, far too often, their midfield allows opposing teams to run at them too easily. Jones should help with that, giving them an excellent tackler with great range to help protect that backline. He's also a good passer who will help the Revs' transition game, which sometimes goes missing.
Some people may have issues with how Jones landed in New England -- how do the Fire feel about this? -- or even what he will be paid, but there is no doubt that the league just got better. It has another very good United States international and Kraft finally shelled out some cash to make a big-money signing in New England.