U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones loaned to Besiktas for six months
Jermaine Jones has landed on his feet, and his quest to reaffirm his place in Jurgen Klinsmann's USA starting XI will continue in Turkey.
Jones was loaned from Schalke to Turkish top flight side Besiktas for six months Thursday, offering an outlet for him to play after falling out at his Bundesliga club. According to Besiktas' official website, the loan comes with an option to sign him permanently. Schalke says that the club and Jones have agreed to terminate his contract -- which was due to expire at the end of the season -- so if Besiktas does not sign Jones outright, he'll be a free agent on the move again.
Jones opted to remain in Europe despite a horde of U.S. national team players returning to the confines of MLS. Besiktas is a team fighting for UEFA Champions League contention during a season in which it is serving a one-year ban from European competition for being involved with match-fixing allegations. The club had qualified for the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League but was unable to participate.
The club is currently in fourth place in the Super Lig, four points off of second place, which offers a place in the Champions League qualifying round. Fenerbahce, which is also serving a European ban this season, is in first place, 14 points clear of Besiktas.
Jones moving clubs is no surprise after Schalke publicly announced that he would not be participating in the club's winter-break camp in Qatar. The club announced that he was pursuing other options, signaling that a move was imminent.
Going to Turkey has become somewhat of a regular occurrence for U.S. players in need of playing time in recent years. Jozy Altidore was loaned to Bursaspor from Villarreal in 2010-11. Maurice Edu also landed at Bursaspor on loan from Stoke last season. In between that was Freddy Adu's stint at second-tier Caykur Rizespor, which led to his call-up for the USA's run in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.