According to a tweet from the Washington Post's soccer reporter Steven Goff, USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones could be on his way to Major League Soccer for 2014.
With the 2013 season rapidly drawing to a close, the Portland Timbers find themselves still in possession of the top pick in the MLS allocation order, leaving the team with a potential hand in Jones' return if he (A) signs with the league before the end of this season and (B) does not sign as a designated player.
Those are two big conditions.
If Jones were to come to MLS with the intention of playing for the Galaxy it makes it much more likely that the Timbers would be involved with the process. The Galaxy currently have three designated players on their roster: Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and Omar Gonzales. Although there has been talk of Landon Donovan retiring after this year, it seems unlikely that Donovan would actually hang up his boots.
As such, the Galaxy would have to drop one of their designated players to bring on Jones as a DP. Instead, it seems likely that Jones would be released by his current club, Schalke, to join the Galaxy on a free transfer as a highly paid, but sub-DP wage, player. If that is the case, Jones will be subjected to the the MLS allocation order.
In that event, one of two things can happen: either Jones signs with MLS before the allocation order resets after the end of the season and the Galaxy must deal with the Timbers, or Jones signs after the allocation order resets and the Galaxy deals with DC United, who have solidly locked up last place with only 16 points on the season.
For any team other than DC United it only makes sense to attempt to deal with the Timbers instead. Where DC are in dire need of new players, the Timbers have one of the league's strongest midfield groups and, with the end of the season coming up, the Timbers will likely take minimal value for their spot in the allocation order before it becomes worthless in January.
If you were Gavin Wilkinson, what would be the bare minimum that you would accept for the right to sign Jermaine Jones?