Jermaine Jones is pretty openly angling for a move to MLS. He's out of contract, so he would be a smart pickup for many teams, as he's coming off a career-defining tournament, but with that comes a high price tag, as he apparently isn't willing to toil in the United States (or maybe Canada, who knows) for $200,000 a year.
With Jones having a house in LA, considerable speculation has pointed in Chivas USA's direction. First, let me make this key point, in case there is confusion: Chivas USA currently have the full allotted amount of Designated Players (Oswaldo Minda, Mauro Rosales, and Erick Torres). If Jones wanted to join the Goats, there would need to be some shuffling of the current crop of DPs, or Jones would have to take a contract at sub-DP wages. The latter does not seem likely, at least for the moment, so signing Jones to CUSA isn't such a slam dunk at this moment.
Among folks who realize Chivas USA's DP situation, one refrain I've been hearing is that Jones would be an upgrade over Minda at defensive midfield. On some level, that is certainly true. In particular, Jones does have a more developed offensive game than Minda, and can play very good passes to unleash attacks. Jones has also been playing at a higher level, so perhaps if he entered MLS, he would just blow everybody away with his awesomeness. It's possible.
But I think the comparisons sell Minda a bit short, and one theory about Minda is absolutely mind-boggling to me. I've heard multiple people, on social media and actual paid pundits say that Minda is "getting old" and so moving on to Jones would be great for the Goats.
There's just one massive problem with that theory: Minda is 30 (he'll turn 31 on Saturday). Jones is 32.
Yep, a player who's nearly 18 months older than another should replace the younger guy because the younger guy "is getting old." What am I missing here?
Yes, Jones had a great World Cup, but he's almost certainly played his best soccer already. In fact, "buying high" on Jones could be somewhat dangerous, as he may or may not be fully committed to giving MLS his all.
And Minda started in the recent World Cup, too, and his team picked up points in both games he started. It's fair to say he's not at the level of Jones, but it is patently unfair to simply say he should be replaced now because time marches on for him, just as it does for all players, including Jones.
Minda is on the books this season for $168,750 guaranteed compensation. That's an absolute bargain for a defensive midfielder, who again, started at the World Cup this summer. Compare that to Jones' reported asking price of $2 million. Will any team in MLS pay him that much? Probably not, but it's not going to be anywhere near Minda's salary.
In closing, if Jones is a credible target of Chivas USA (and it's entirely possible they are not in the running), and if this is a situation in which it's either Minda or Jones (in fact, I think they could be an absolutely terrific pair in the middle for CUSA), then the question has to be whether the trade-offs for Jones -- a new player in a new league, a very high salary bill, displacing a younger player who is still quite good himself -- is truly worth the benefits. He could help with marketing the club, to a point, as most casual fans would not race out to the stadium to watch him play. He's older than Minda and may decline faster than the Ecuadorian, so the improvement he could bring may not actually prove to be an advantage over the course of three or four years.
Should Chivas USA try to get Jones? If they can work it out, why not. But don't do it at the expense of Minda, and especially not over the bogus notion that a player younger than him is aging.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!