Update, 11:50 AM: Sam Stejskal at The Athletic ($) reports that the deal is complete pending receipt of Jones’ International Transfer Certificate, for a transfer fee of $150,000 to be paid in January 2020, and that the Sounders will use TAM to sign Jones.
Original report: Joevin Jones is leaving German club Darmstadt 96 and his most likely destination is the Seattle Sounders, according to a report in Bild. The story goes as far as to say that Darmstadt has already agreed to release Jones and that the deal could be finalized before the close of the transfer window tonight at 10 p.m. (Notably, “release” in this case probably doesn’t mean that he’d be on a free and the Sounders would still likely need to work out some sort of transfer fee.)
Jones joins the 2. Bundesliga side in January 2018 and quickly established himself as a starter, albeit as wide midfielder, not as a left back. In his first half season, Jones scored four goals with an assist in in less than 1,400 minutes. He followed that up with another decent campaign — logging two goals and three assists — but also one in which he lost his starting job in the latter half of the season. Jones was not in the squad for Darmstadt’s most recent game and did not play in the match before that.
Jones’ decline may be connected to some apparent homesickness as he was flying back and forth between Germany and Trinidad & Tobago to visit his pregnant wife. She apparently joined him in Germany for some time, but is now back in their native country.
As the roster stands today, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious need for Jones. As a left back, he’s very similar to Brad Smith. But Brian Schmetzer was also perfectly happy to use Jones as a left midfielder in his previous stint with the team. The Sounders do still own his MLS rights, which means they’d have first crack at signing him and any other team would have to work out a deal with them before bringing him back. Jones has also dropped several hints that he’d like to return to Seattle, one as recently last week.
If the Sounders are preparing to sign him, it could be a sign that either Nouhou is one his way out or that they aren’t particularly optimistic about keeping Smith beyond his current loan term. Still, adding a player of Jones’ caliber — he had three goals and 17 assists in two seasons with the Sounders — at virtually no cost would be hard to turn down, even if only as an insurance policy.