AMSTERDAM – Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones has completed a move to Beşiktaş, the Turkish club has confirmed to MLSsoccer.com.
The US international has arrived on a six-month loan with purchase option that will cost the club a total of €900,000 (just more than $1.2 million) by the end of summer. Beşiktaş also hold the summer option to sign Jones, who had entered the final months of his Schalke deal, to a two-year contract with a base salary of €1.8 million (about $2.45 million) per season.
Jones had been linked to a potential move to MLS in the wake of recent league acquisitions Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu, but he’ll stick around in Europe for at least the final stretch before the World Cup this summer.
With pride and honor I will wear the black eagle jersey. Thanks to be part of this family. I can't wait to Start !!! pic.twitter.com/j8V3lIxgym— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) January 30, 2014
"When I got the first offer by Beşiktaş, I was very excited," Jones told reporters during his Istanbul airport arrival in the early morning hours of Thursday. "I'm going to play for a club that has a lot of fans. I looked at some videos of them on YouTube and can not wait to be among them."
Jones notched 10 goals and 18 assists in 185 matches across all competitions for Schalke, who plucked the fiery midfielder from his hometown Eintracht Frankfurt on a free transfer in 2007.
The veteran has also played for Bayer Leverkusen and Blackburn, working 302 first-team matches from all of his career stops to date. Jones leaves the Bundesliga with the sixth-highest rate of bookings in league history; he amassed 56 yellows and five total reds in 165 appearances for an average of 0.37 cards per game.
The 32-year-old will become the first American to play for Beşiktaş, who currently employ Canada star Atiba Hutchinson as a defensive handyman. Columbus Crew ace Federico Higuain formerly played for the Black Eagles, who boast 13 Süper Lig titles and nine Turkish Cups in the trophy case.
Currently two points shy of a Champions League slot in fifth place, Beşiktaş will host cellar dwellers Kayseri Erciyesspor on Friday.
Jones appeared in 12 games for the US national team last year, including seven World Cup qualifiers. If healthy, he’s expected to be called in for the team’s March 5 matchup against Ukraine in Kharkiv and is considered by most a lock for Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad in Brazil.