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Aug 20, 2014

Who will be the next U.S. star to move?

The ESPN FC crew is joined by Tim Howard to discuss Jermaine Jones' future and what he could add to an MLS team.

For several members of the U.S. national team, the post-World Cup dance has reached a fruitful conclusion.

Graham Zusi and Matt Besler opted to stay with Sporting Kansas City while Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin posted the biggest post-tournament coup so far, signing with EPL side Tottenham Hotspur. All three padded their respective bank accounts, though it looks as though Yedlin will have to wait a bit to officially cash in, as he is not set to join Spurs until the conclusion of the MLS season at the earliest.

Yet for several other U.S. internationals, the situation is less clear-cut. Some are out of contract while others seem intent on finding new clubs. Here is a rundown on several Americans still looking to sort out their club situations:

Jermaine Jones

Jones has clearly enjoyed his summer vacation, posting photos of fishing trips on Instagram and making appearances with the likes of rapper Wale and UFC legend Chuck Liddell. Yet all the while Jones has seemed intent on finishing out his career in MLS, and more than one team seems willing to oblige.

Fire manager Frank Yallop sent the hearts of Chicago fans fluttering with his comment on Saturday that "I think we're close" to landing Jones. But Chicago technical director Brian Bliss said through a team representative that the deal is "out of our hands" as MLS continues to negotiate with Jones' representatives.

A league source said MLS made an offer to Jones' side last week, and while it's unknown how much back-and-forth has taken place since then, it seems a matter of when, not if, Jones signs. The same source said the difference in the respective salary positions is in the-six figure range, though how much that differs from the $1 million amount cited by ESPN television analyst Alexi Lalas is unclear.

Of course, Chicago is by no means the only interested party, with the New England Revolution making public its pursuit as well. That has led to some confusion over just where Jones would land if he signs with the league.

Last week, another league source indicated that it was likely Jones would go through the standard allocation order once he signs. Now it appears that this is no longer the case. The same source indicated that Jones' proposed salary is now above the undisclosed league-mandated threshold for bypassing the allocation process, and he will be assigned in a manner similar to how Clint Dempsey ended up in Seattle. Which is to say however MLS wants.

While Jones is a free agent, the MLS roster freeze takes place on Sept. 15, meaning any deal must be completed before the deadline for Jones to play this season.

Jermaine Jones, left, is continuing his negotiations with MLS, but the future of two Stoke City U.S. players, Geoff Cameron, middle, and Brek Shea, continues to be speculated on.

Geoff Cameron

A source with knowledge of Cameron's situation confirmed an earlier Goal.com report that the U.S. international is exploring options away from current club Stoke City. The source indicated that a deal wasn't imminent, and while manager Mark Hughes insisted that Cameron was still working his way back to fitness after taking a post-World Cup break, the fact that the defender/midfielder was left out of the club's 18-man roster for the Premier League opener against Aston Villa hints strongly at a potential move.

At issue is Cameron's position in the club. U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann has long indicated that he feels the player's best position is either center back or in the center of midfield. The source added that Hughes had spoken to Cameron and indicated the player would be given every opportunity to win a starting berth in one of those two positions this season.

But that hasn't stopped Cameron from looking elsewhere, and the reason is simple. The competition for places at those spots remains considerable. Not only are midfielders Charlie Adam, Charles N'Zonzi and Glenn Whelan still at the club, but Stoke added EPL veteran Steve Sidwell over the summer. In the back, things look more encouraging, but Cameron will still have to find a way to displace the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson and Robert Huth.

Given that Cameron is now a known quantity in the Premier League, a source indicated that there has been interest from other EPL clubs, though clubs from Germany and Italy have inquired about the player's availability as well.

Juan Agudelo

No longer contracted to EPL side Stoke City, Agudelo is free to move where he wants. Agudelo scored three goals in 14 matches while on loan at Eredivisie side Utrecht last season, but now it appears that the U.S. international forward is generating considerable interest in Germany. A published report by German outlet TZ indicated that Bundesliga side 1860 Munich is among the suitors, and a source close to Agudelo said the U.S. international forward is attracting interest from Bundesliga sides as well.

Earlier this summer, Agudelo was linked to German club Hannover 96. That would appear to prevent any chance of Agudelo returning to MLS.

Brek Shea

Stoke City have made it clear that Shea no longer figures into the club's plans. The former FC Dallas midfielder has been reduced to playing with the club's U21 team and went 90 minutes in last weekend's first official match of the season, a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa's U21s.

A loan to another club seems the most likely course of action. A source close to Shea said the player has options in the English Championship but desires a move out of England. Given how a previous loan spell with Barnsley was cut short after Shea was involved in an incident with fans, that isn't surprising.

The source added that a club in the Netherlands or Germany is Shea's most likely destination and confirmed a report from the blog NoShortCorners.com that FC Utrecht is among the clubs interested in Shea. The source indicated that Utrecht would have to move players to sign the American.

Jeff Carlisle

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. He has covered the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups for ESPN in Germany, South Africa and Brazil, respectively. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreycarlisle.

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