DAVID SMITH - Friday, January 8, 2010
On the verge of signing a long-term deal with German club Mainz, midfielder Jared Jeffrey is expected to finally have his shot at first-team action as the team looks to solidify their Bundesliga standing.
The former Brugge player joined up with Mainz immediately before the turn of the new year to begin training, and is set to finalize his transfer once the team returns from its mid-season training camp in Spain at the end of the week.
"[Jared] will sign a contract until 2013 when the team is back in Mainz," team press chief Tobias Sparwasser told YA from Spain.
Addressing the delay in putting pen to paper, Sparwasser clarified the hold-up was simply an administrative matter which would be resolved after the team returns to Germany. "It's just because our general manager is here in Spain and he has to do a lot of paperwork, so it's only a question of time," he explains.
Mainz was already familiar with the young midfielder prior to joining Belgian club Brugge in summer 2008, however they were dissuaded by the sizable compensation to be provided to his youth team, a factor which has no longer has any bearing on their current approach.
"[Brugge] had to pay a signing fee but now he's much cheaper for us," Sparwasser clarifies, adding "It's not a free transfer, but it's a cheap transfer for us."
While the fee paid to Brugge for the U-20 World Cup participant has not been officially disclosed by either team, reports in the German media have suggested it lies in the neighborhood of €75,000.
The Texas native was forced to miss the team's final tune-up in Spain, a 5-1 win over 2. Bundesliga club Fortuna Düsseldorf on Thursday due to tightness in his calf, however could be back on the field during the weekend once the team has left their Andalusian camp.
"The team is Spain until Friday, then we have a test match on Sunday in Kaiserslautern and the season will resume the following Saturday."
Jeffrey had trouble cracking Brugge's lineup during his time with the Belgian title challengers failing, to register any league appearances during his 18 months with the club. This is not expected to be the case in Mainz, as the coaching staff has already made clear their intentions to quickly work him into the first team.
"He will be working with the first team but as a US national he is allowed to play with the second team to get practice," he continues. "But our coach says he'll be expected to play in the Bundesliga."
Halfway through their first season back in Germany's top flight after a two-year spell in the 2. Bundesliga, Mainz sit a comfortable ninth place in the standings. They resume their campaign in roughly one week with a tough visit to leaders Bayer Leverkusen.