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Where will Landon Donovan fit in at Everton FC?

By Joseph Doherty :  11/12/2009 :  Comments (15) :
Since the Landon Donovan loan deal to Everton has been touted, it has led to a series of questions about the nature of the deal and how it will benefit the US national team and also Everton FC.

Everton's current attacking options are Louis Saha,Yakubu, Jo, Victor Anichebe, and James Vaughan:

Yakubu is currently out of form after returning from an eleven-month layoff. He has not scored yet this season; however, he definitely has the potential to do so, having scored 72 Premier League goals. Jo, the on-loan striker, has also struggled this season with only three goals.

Anichebe and Vaughan are both still out with long-term injuries, therefore Everton's attacking options are limited.

However, Everton manager David Moyes tends to favour a 4-5-1 formation, or a 4-4-1-1 formation with Tim Cahill as the man behind the lone striker. Currently, Moyes favours Louis Saha when fit as his main striker. Saha has been Everton's best-performing player this season having already scored eleven goals.

One has to wonder what position Donovan would play at Goodison Park. Having looked at Everton's favoured formation, it is difficult to see where he would fit in. When playing a lone striker it is difficult to see Donovan usurping Saha. Moyes's faith in Tim Cahill behind the striker would mean Donovan is probably a backup in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

However, when Everton play 4-4-2 at home versus weaker opposition, Donovan is more likely to fit in up front.

One other option for Moyes is to utilise Donovan's creativity on the wing. Since the injury to Mikel Arteta, Everton's star and most creative player, the role of Steven Pienaar has become even more important. If Moyes were to play Donovan in Arteta's role it would remove some of the pressure from Pienaar and Bilyaletdinov.

David Moyes is looking to bring a talented experienced attacking player to Goodison to help end the current struggles in a similar manner to the 2002 loan-signing of Brian McBride, who scored four goals in eight Premier League matches.

Everton's current injury crisis means the addition of a man with as much international experience as Donovan can only be good thing for Everton. Also, it would be good for the US National Team for Donovan to continue to play competitive football ahead of South Africa.

Reader Comments

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Stewart Littler
1   Posted 12/12/2009 at 01:36:58

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I think he will be another option for wide midfield — this is a position familiar to him, and a position where we are short. If he is good enough, and this allows Pienaar to move infield, then it’s a good move. If he’s not good enough, it’s only a bad move if Moyes sticks with him.
James Stewart
2   Posted 12/12/2009 at 02:56:10

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He will play wide Midfield it is his preferred position.
Pat Finegan
3   Posted 12/12/2009 at 03:06:07

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Being a yank and thus having watched Donovan for the past 8 years or so, I think he can play about 3 different positions for us.
1) Striker, I think he plays better with someone else up front but he should be able to play in Moyes’ system.
2) Attacking mid, Cahill’s position.
3) Winger, either left or right.
Ok, so that’s really 4 positions if left and right wing are 2 seperate positions. We have one good striker (Saha) with a history of injuries. 2 good wingers (Pienaar & Billy) you could say 3 with Gosling. And Cahill as attacking mid. We are obviously pretty thin in all 4 of those areas and Donovan could, at the worst, make a quality sub. He’s much better than Jo. Yakubu isn’t fully fit yet. He has more experience than Gosling. He is a true attacking mid as opposed to Fellaini. He’ll fit in, no doubt about that, it’s just a question of where Moyes wants to play him.
Chris James
4   Posted 12/12/2009 at 07:23:32

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I agree with the first two comments that he’s likely to play wide right and maybe support striker now and then.

I also think this will be an absolutely inspired signing if we can pull it off. Sure, he may not have set the world alight in his previous moves abroad but he is one of the US’s absolute star players (alongside Howard).

Not only does this further raise our profile in the US (widely predicted to be an exploding market for football in the US — read more fans, tours, potential players and even investors?), but it also provides us with a much needed injection of that American never-say-die winners mentality.

I also genuinely think the Premier League is a better fit for the US game (based more on fitness and competitiveness than pure skill, unlike some of the European leagues) and I genuinely think Landon could add a much needed boost to the team and some more options when we’re faced with the major opportunities for some success this season (i.e. Europa and FA Cup — let’s face it, the league challenge is pretty much dead in the water).

Now if we can also line up a midfield hardman and/or a playmaker and probably another bit of defensive cover whilst we await Jags and lose Yobo to the AFCON, we might just be able to put this season back on track.
Brian Waring
5   Posted 12/12/2009 at 11:24:15

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Probalby a bench warmer, called upon when needed.
Des McLaughlin
6   Posted 12/12/2009 at 12:39:20

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I think Joseph you have neglected to take into account that Saha isn’t capable of playing 90 minutes, Yak is a shadow of his former self and may never return to being the player he was, plus he will be away for the African Nations. Jo is abysymal and Vaughan is more injury prone than Saha, a headless chicken when fit and up for sale.

We therefore need any striker we can get and Donovan will get plenty of opportunities to play up front for us.

Wilson Tan
7   Posted 12/12/2009 at 17:39:43

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Going by today’s performance against Chelsea, I would say this is a good move for us. He can replace either Pienaar/Billy when we need to freshen things up, or play upfront with Saha where we can use his pace to run into the channels (AJ MK-II).
Neil Steele
8   Posted 13/12/2009 at 12:50:56

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He is a utility forward player which, given our injuries and the ACN coming up will see plenty of game time.

He’s a good player and he has what we’ve been lacking... real pace.
Jamie Rowland
9   Posted 14/12/2009 at 10:15:47

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He wont fit in at Everton — he’ll sign for Spurs now that we have let the world know he is available.
Ciarán McGlone
10   Posted 14/12/2009 at 14:51:21

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On the bench... he certainly doesn’t get anywhere near my preferred Eleven.
Tim Lloyd
11   Posted 14/12/2009 at 18:22:29

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Do you consider you are something of an expert on Landon Donovan, Ciaran?

I know only what people have been writing as to his past performances in the US; it seems to me that on the basis of those, he may be just the man we want in a number of positions.
Des Farren
12   Posted 14/12/2009 at 19:56:56

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With an injury list as long as your arm I would suggest that your "preferred eleven" has not to date turned out this season.

If this is, in fact, the situation, how a seasoned international, rated as probably the best player in US, could not make, and improve, the present team is beyond me.
Joe McMahon
13   Posted 14/12/2009 at 20:42:19

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I’m waiting til he’s actually here. We have been here many many times, Naughton etc anyone?
Damian Scott
14   Posted 14/12/2009 at 21:06:37

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Having followed US football for many years, Landon Donovan has always been one of their shining stars. He has plenty of experience in the European leagues having spent a few seasons in Germany early in his career and a couple of loans over the last few years...

Without a doubt he will give us a lot more attacking ability... especially with the Yak and Pienaar out for the AFCON, this signing could not have come at a better time. Can’t wait to see him in a blue shirt to be honest. He has always been a player that I would have liked to have seen at Everton...
Dermot O'Brien
15   Posted 15/12/2009 at 14:00:33

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Lads, I think he would fit in anywhere at the moment. But as a few have mentioned above, the whole world knows about it now so I think it’s just another dream.

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