CARSON, CA (January 18, 2017) – The LA Galaxy announced the signing of midfielder Jermaine Jones today. The club used Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to acquire Jones. After a very busy and tumultuous off-season, what does this move mean for the Galaxy? What does Jones arriving mean for the rest of the midfielders? The terms were not released, but what price was the right price for Jones? Let’s break it all down.
LA Galaxy Sign Jermaine Jones Using TAM: What It Means
If nothing else, the Galaxy’s biggest hole was in the midfield. Even with the departure of A.J. DeLaGarza, they’ve got a solid starting back four. They’ve got Gyasi Zardes and Giovani Dos Santos up top. But in the midfield, they lost Nigel De Jong, Landon Donovan, and Jeff Larentowicz this season.
Jones joins Emma Boateng, Sebstian Lletget, Baggio Husidic, and Rafael Garcia in the midfield.
What Role Jones Will Play:
Jones will undoubtedly line up in central midfield with a slightly attacking role. With the Colorado Rapids in 2016, he played mostly a No. 10 role in a 4-2-3-1. Later in the season when he came back from injury, he played a deep-lying play maker role next to Sam Cronin.
Last season with LA Galaxy II, Curt Onalfo played mostly a 4-4-2. When healthy, Jones can fit in well in a central role. He can play box-to-box. He has indicated his desire to play a No. 6 or No. 8 role. With the right holding midfielder, he can be of the most dominating midfield forces in MLS.
“Jermaine is a winner who has experience in MLS and playing against the highest competition in the world,” Curt Onalfo said. “He has a relentless engine on the field and we are confident that he will strengthen our midfield. We look forward to him joining the Galaxy as we prepare for the upcoming season.”
Last season, Dos Santos was inhibited by Robbie Keane. The coaching staff’s biggest challenges for this season may be making sure this doesn’t happen with Jones.
On the plus side, Jones was a huge influence the young players on the Rapids in 2016. His mentorship and motivation helped guys like Dominic Badji and Marlon Hairston have career years. With the Galaxy giving some of the kids a chance, Jones could have a significant impact in the locker room for them.
What This Means For The Other Midfielders:
Late on in the season, Lletget was moved from a wide role to the central midfield. Despite having several different (and less mobile) partners, he settled into that role in the playoffs. While he’s more well regarded for his attacking talents, I would argue he looked better in a slight holding role, similar to Juninho playing with Marcelo Sarvas a few years ago.
Lletget will be the most effected by Jones coming to the Galaxy. The 35-year-old is much less predictable than Lletget’s previous partners. In that, it will take these two some time to get used to each other.
Depending on who else the Galaxy sign, Lletget could also be moved back to the wing (or even the bench). If you ask me, it’s worth giving Lletget a chance to become a starting central midfielder going forward, unless the club signs a TAM or DP level holding midfielder.
So About Jones Being Super Old And Injured:
While the exact terms have not been released, the Galaxy did announce that they used TAM to sign Jones. That means that Jones has a base salary higher than the max threshold for a non-DP: $457,500. So the Galaxy are paying him more than that. Based on how much TAM they have, it’s highly unlikely he’s making $1 million or more.
That said, Jones is somewhere in the ballpark of his 2016 salary ($600,000). Jones played 13 games and just over 1000 minutes for the Rapids last year including playoffs. Dave Romney logged more minutes than him last year.
He’s 35-years-old. He’s coming off a major injury and it’s still not clear if he’s completely rehabbed it yet. And he could still miss games playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team with World Cup Qualifiers and the Gold Cup this year.
This is a huge gamble by the LA Galaxy. If Jones isn’t healthy and effective for the whole season, this could be a prohibitive waste of money. Furthermore, this move of giving an aging star a big contract goes completely against the apparent philosophical change the front office went through this off-season.
But maybe a negative response is exactly the motivation Jones needs to boss it in 2017.
Transaction: LA Galaxy sign U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones
Name: Jermaine Jones
Weight: 170 lbs.
Born: Nov. 3, 1981
Last Club: Colorado Rapids