Twenty-two year old DIRECTV W Connection starlet and “Soca Warrior” utility player Joevin Jones should leave for Italy by next weekend and a 12-day trial with mid-table Serie A team, Udinese Calcio.
Jones, who helped Connection to secure the 2013 Toyota Classic crown with a 2-0 win over Club Sando last night, is his club’s highest scorer this season with five goals in all competitions while he has been a fixture in the Trinidad and Tobago national senior team for the past three years.
Connection owner David John Williams hopes Jones’ fine form helps earn him a move to a team that has employed unique talents like retired Brazil legend Zico, Chile and Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez and present Udinese captain and Italy international Antonio Di Natale.
“Joevin has to be there by the 10th of December,” Williams told Wired868. “The Italian season breaks on the 22nd (of December) and restarts on the 6th of January. Hopefully he can impress and be asked to return (after the winter break).”
If Jones is successful, he will become the second Trinidad and Tobago player to sign for a Serie A club. His Connection teammate Silvio Spann signed for Perugia as a 20-year-old in 2001 but never played in the top flight and his only outings in Italy came while on loan at Serie C team, Sambenedettese.
In 2001, Spann had failed to force his way into the national under-20 team and it was another two years before he made his first start for the international senior team. In contrast, Jones, the son of former “Strike Squad” defender Kelvin Jones, already has 33 full international caps and has played in a CONCACAF Gold Cup and two CONCACAF Champions League tournaments.
Williams claimed Connection has had talks with several interested European clubs about Jones including present England Championship leader, Leicester City, big spending French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Spanish outfit Real Betis. However, Udinese made the first move.
“Leicester wanted to bring him over but they were concerned about the work permit situation as Trinidad and Tobago is still ranked outside the top 70 nations,” said Williams. “But Udinese was first to offer him a trial…
“It is a massive, massive opportunity for the boy. Obviously he is talented; the biggest challenge for him is dealing with the cold.”
Jones’ brilliant solo effort and two clever assists against Guaya United in the Classic semi-final underlined his status as the Pro League’s most entertaining player at present and Williams waited until after the final whistle, last night, to tell him the good news.
“I didn’t tell Joevin until after the (Classic final),” said Williams, “and he made a promise to give it his best shot. There was a joke in the dressing room that just now we will not have a team.
“If Joevin goes in the next transfer window, we will definitely have to bring in some new faces.”
At present, Connection is six points clear atop the Pro League team with a game in hand and a maximum 15 points from five outings.
Technically, Jones will be available when the “Savonetta Boys” play away to Guaya United in the TTFA FA Trophy on Wednesday December 4 and then face Central FC in League action on Saturday December 7.
Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier suggested that he would consider using Jones against Guaya but, at the moment, is still undecided. Fevrier revealed that he does not intend to scrap Connection’s present formation, which was tailor-made for Jones and features the Italy-bound Warrior as a roving playmaker ahead of two holding midfielders and behind a mobile front three.
“We will not change the system,” said Fevrier. “We have Bebo (Jomal Williams), Yefer (Lozano) and (Yhon) Lopez. Any one of those three can function in that role.”
Connection may have already lost three other players to Vietnam for the remainder of the season. Trinidad and Tobago international defender Daneil Cyrus moved on loan to Hanoi T&T last month while former national youth team strikers Jerrel Britto and Jamal Clarence hope to complete moves to Song Lam Nghe.
However, another starlet, 21-year-old Shahdon Winchester, has returned from his loan stint with Finland Premier League team, FF Jaro, and will be back in Connection gear when the transfer window opens on December 23.
“We have eight League games in January and four in February, so the League will be won and lost then,” said Williams. “Shahdon will be joining us at a key time and he has already been training every day. We are just waiting for the window to open.”