American Exports: USMNT's Jermaine Jones skips Schalke 04 trip as club hints at January transfer
US national team mainstay Jermaine Jones looks set for a January transfer away from Bundesliga side Schalke 04, his club home for the past six-and-a-half years.
Schalke confirmed as much with the release of a statement on Thursday explaining Jones' absence from the team's winter training camp, which opens in Doha, Qatar, on Friday.
“Other perspectives could open up in the coming days and weeks for Jermaine Jones,” stated the post on Schalke's official website. “The midfielder, who is under contract at Schalke 04 until the summer of 2014, has asked sporting director Horst Heldt to allow him a change for the second half of the season.
“To consider other options, the 32-year old will not travel to Qatar.”
Jones has appeared in 129 matches since joining the Royal Blues from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2007, notching seven goals and 13 assists. He has played 22 games in all competitions this season.
The German-American midfielder has had a roller-coaster experience at Schalke, earning both plaudits and criticism for his performances and running into conflicts with management and teammates on several occasions. He spent half of the 2010-11 season on loan with England's Blackburn Rovers.
Jones has expressed a desire to join MLS at some point in his career and in October media reports suggested that he was investigating a Stateside move this winter. He was a central part of the USMNT's 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, starting 12 matches and logging 925 minutes in 2013.
Odds are that Jones would demand a Designated Player contract to join an MLS team, meaning he would forgo the USMNT allocation process and join any team willing to pay his salary, as Clint Dempsey did to join the Seattle Sounders last summer. If he somehow joins the league without a DP contract, however, D.C. United own the right of first refusal by way of the allocation order.