New England Soccer Today

Burns on Jones’ Future: It’s Up to Him

For the first time since the Revolution’s season came to a close, club general manager Michael Burns touched upon a topic at the forefront of many supporters’ minds: the future of out of contract midfielder Jermaine Jones.

In a recent interview with the Comcast Sports Net New England (CSNNE), Burns detailed that the prospect of Jones’ return lies solely with the player himself, though declined to get into specifics about the contract negotiations.

“The best way I can say it is that Jermaine Jones is well aware that he certainly can wear a Revs jersey next year – if he wants to,” Burns told the CSNNE. “We would like to have him back. We’ve made that known to him, but beyond that, it’s ultimately a decision of Jermaine’s.”

Following the Revolution’s postseason exit in October, Jones told the media that he had offers from Europe, Brazil and even within MLS in addition to the one presented by the Revolution. He also revealed that he is seeking a three-year deal that will take him through the 2018 World Cup.

Burns acknowledged that there are a number of factors in play for Jones, whose wife and five children live in Los Angeles. Jones has often said that his family is one of the primary motivations for getting a long-term deal, as he’d like for them to settle in a city where he knows he’ll be playing for more than one season.

With Jones mulling his options, Burns said that it’s “too early to tell on when he’s going to end up making his decision.”

If Jones ultimately decides that he wants to move within MLS, Burns said that a trade is not outside of the realm.

“Our first priority is to have him in a Revs jersey,” Burns said. “(But) just like any other player, I can’t sit here and say that we wouldn’t even consider a trade. But that’s not our primary focus.”

Burns said that in terms of getting a deal done, on a scale of 1 to 10, “it’s a one by a large (margin).” He also mentioned that if the Revolution can’t come to terms with their star midfielder, the league would ask the club to consider a trade with another club in order to keep him in MLS.

“While we’d love to have him back,” Burns said. “He’s certainly got more on his plate in terms of making that decision. He’s a big piece of what we’re doing.”

Burns understands Jones’ position as he considers his options, but hinted that he’d like to know more about what the midfielder would like to do.

“We would also like to get some clarity sooner rather than later,” Burns said, “and if he’s not going to come back, we’ll have to go in another direction.”

Of course, there isn’t much time left for the organization to be waiting on Jones’ decision. A number of player acquisition mechanisms are on tap for the next two weeks, and preseason camp opens in six weeks.

“The timetable’s important here,” Burns said. “Ideally, you’d like to have all your pieces in play by Jan. 22, and that’s probably not likely. But that’s the goal for Jay (Heaps) and the coaches is to have all of the players on board from the start of preseason, but it’s not that cut and dried.”

Should Jones decide to return the Revolution, or move to a club within MLS, he still faces a lengthy ban at start the 2016 season after he made contact with referee Mark Geiger during the club’s 2-1 knockout round loss to DC United. But that detail pales in comparison to what’s truly at stake for both the club and the player.

“Jermaine’s decision will impact some other things we’re doing,” Burns said. “But we’re trying to address that sooner rather than later. And we have addressed it, but it’s just that it hasn’t resolved itself yet.”

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