BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – After draw specialists the Chicago Fire claimed their 13th draw of the season against the Columbus Crew on Saturday, head coach Frank Yallop greeted the awaiting media corps in his postgame press conference and jokingly quipped that he didn’t “want to talk about ties.”
As such, the focus immediately turned to the day’s other significant news: the growing media speculation that Jermaine Jones, the main focus of the club’s transfer efforts, had turned down a lucrative offer from the team.
Yallop confirmed that the club has put in an offer to the out-of-contract US national team midfielder, who is available on a free transfer after his stay at Turkish side Besiktas came to an end prior to this summer’s World Cup.
“I spoke to Jermaine yesterday and wanted to put forward our club and what we thought of him and we would love [for] him to join us,” Yallop told reporters at Toyota Park.
“So I’ve done that, he hasn’t officially turned down our offer because we’ve not had anything back, so we’re still waiting. It was a big offer, Andrew [Hauptman, club owner] stepped up and put out a good contract offer, he’s thinking about it and we’ll probably find out about it in the next couple of days.”
While the 46-time capped Jones is the Fire’s priority signing this window, Yallop and technical director Brian Bliss have a number of potential signings lined up should their offer to the German-American come up short.
“We have a few guys we have lined up in a sort of domino effect, if you like,” said Yallop. “If one doesn’t go, then we have to move to the next one. We have interest in some players and I’m sure we’ll get something hopefully done in this window for sure.”
When he eventually got back to talking about the game, Yallop admitted the ground he would cover would be familiar to both him and his audience. Saturday’s draw was the Fire’s 13th of the season, tops in the league and just three short of the all-time MLS record for draws in a year set by the 2011 Chicago squad.
“If you go into the game tonight, here we go, sort of déjà vu,” Yallop said. “We’ve all sat here before and said the same thing. It’s frustrating, maybe we didn’t play great, we could have got something more out of the game but we didn’t.
"Again, I’ll say that we’re not quite ready to get over the hurdle of winning games and dominating play, but it will come. We’ll work on stuff and we’ll try to build for the future, which is important.”