Seeing your club fail to complete a permanent deal for a popular loan signing can often be one of the most painful feelings for a football fan, and for those of a Blackburn Rovers persuasion, Jermaine Jones is someone who perfectly embodies that description.
Joining on loan from Bundesliga side Schalke in the 2011 January transfer window, Jones made 15 Premier League appearances in total for the Lancashire club, helping them avoid relegation to the Championship,
His commitment to the cause and no-nonsense on-field manner – he picked up seven yellow cards in those 15 appearances – made him a big favourite amongst the Ewood Park faithful.
Indeed, as the 2010/11 season drew to a close, it appeared as though there was a desire from all parties to see a permanent move to Lancashire for the midfielder.
Ultimately however, no deal materialised, and Jones instead returned to Schalke in the summer of 2011, where he would continue to feature regularly over the next two-and-a-half years.
During that time, Jones would help Schalke on several impressive European runs, while Blackburn suffered relegation to the Championship in the year following his departure.
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Eventualy, Jones did leave Schalke for good in the 2014 January transfer window, making the move to Turkey with Besiktas.
However, the midfielder would last just a few months with the Turkish giants, making ten appearances before moving to America in August 2014, joining New England Revolution as a designated player on an 18-month contract.
Following the expiry of that deal, Jones joined Colarado Rapids for the 2016 campaign, scoring three times in 13 appearances, before moving to another MLS side, LA Galaxy, for the 2017 season, for what would be his final season of top-tier football, during which he made 20 league appearances, scoring once.
On the international front, Jones continued to be a key player in the heart of the USA’s midfield, with his most memorable moment coming in the form of a stunning long-range strike during a 2-2 draw with Portugal in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Jones’ final appearance for the States came in a 1-1 draw with Panama during the USA’s shock failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with the midfielder ending his career 69 caps for the US, despite previously making three friendly appearances for the country of his birth, Germany.
The 2017/18 season saw Jones competing further down the American football pyramid with Ventura County Fusion, and after almost a year out of the game, the midfielder made one final return to action when he joined Ontario Fury’s indoor team for the 2019 Major Arena Soccer League.
Eventually though, Jones would call a day on his playing career for good earlier this year, deciding to retire from the game at the age of 38 on the 20th February 2020.
With Jones continuing to play at such a high level for so long following his departure from Ewood Park, while Blackburn slowly but surely found themselves slipping down the leagues, you can’t help but wonder just how different things might have been, had those Rovers fans got the return to their club for Jones, that so many of them had so dearly wanted.