Revs still in talks with Jermaine Jones despite Xavier Kouassi DP deal
New England Revolution manager Jay Heaps says the team is still in discussions with U.S. international midfielder Jermaine Jones about a new contract, though he declined to get into any details about the talks.
"I would say there's been progress, but I don't know if a deal is going to be done tomorrow," Heaps said. "There are other things in play in terms of international opportunities for Jermaine, so I think the conversation is ongoing."
Heaps was speaking to reporters on a conference call regarding the signing of midfielder Xavier Kouassi to a Designated Player contract. Kouassi, 26, will join the Revolution on a free transfer when the secondary MLS window opens on July 8, after his contract at FC Sion expires.
But given that Kouassi is a holding midfielder, the conversation inevitably turned to what the signing means for Jones' future with the Revs.
Jones has been out of contract since the end of 2015, and in December he went public with his frustration about the Revs' contract offer that he said would pay him less then 20 percent of what he made last season. Then last week, Jones called the Revs' latest offer "a joke."
According to the MLS Players Union, Jones made $3.05 million in guaranteed compensation last year. Jones made only 19 league and playoff appearances due to two hernia surgeries.
"We're trying to add to this team with Jermaine or without Jermaine," said Heaps. "That's to be determined, but right now, we want to strengthen our group and Xavier does that."
When asked if there had been discussions recently about a deal with Jones' representatives, Heaps said, "There's conversations for sure."
Jones has made his desire to remain in MLS public, but reportedly has an offer from Bundesliga side Hannover on the table. Undercutting Jones' bargaining position is the fact that he is facing a six-game suspension following an altercation last October with referee Mark Geiger that was judged to be a case of referee assault. That suspension will have to be served by Jones once he signs with a new club, regardless of the league in which he plays.
As for Kouassi, Heaps indicated that he expects the new acquisition to anchor the Revs midfield during the latter half of the upcoming season.
"Xavier is a player we're excited about," he said. "It's a player we've spent a lot of time tracking and player we feel is going to fit our system and fit the team that we have. He's strong, he's a ball-winner, cuts off passing lanes, very quick, and will help our team in transition."
Jones is currently in camp with the United States and played 71 minutes in the Americans' 3-2 victory over Iceland on Sunday.