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Keeping Donovan

By Pete Case :  11/02/2010 :  Comments (53) :
By now you've all read or heard Moyes comments re: Keeping Donovan. There must be 50 comments in the MailBag stating that "we have to find a way to keep Donovan"... I think Everton can get him, here's how and why:

1. The Everton faithful have to make him feel welcome. So I think to a large extent, mission accomplished on that front.

2. I think his recent contract was a strategy by his advisors to get some up-front money from MLS, with an eye towards marketing him in England for 3 months, then hoping he stays healthy and puts in a good performance at the World Cup, which triggers competition from European clubs over the summer. This would lead to a buyout of the MLS contract and another windfall for his advisors. Remember, no-one knows what's in his contract and there is speculation in the US that he has a little more control over his fate than either he or Moyes is letting on.

3. Everton will need to cough up probably £6 million, maybe a bit more depending on the World Cup.

4. My sense it that he loves Everton and that Everton would have the inside track over any other club. I believe this is the reason Moyes continues to start Donovan regardless of his form. Let's face it, two of Donovan's six appearances could easily have resulted in a benching. It's Moyes's way of baiting Donovan — "If you sign here later this summer, you WILL play". Donovan has already been at big Euro Clubs so I doubt any counter offer from a "Big Club" will impress him.

Ultimately the limiting factors are:

– Can Everton come up with the money this summer? Answer - Yes

– Does Donovan want to come to Everton on a long term deal? Answer - Probably.

Frankly, I think the wild card in all this would be his wife.

I am confident that Donovan has authority to leave the MLS if a fixed sum (£XM?) or higher is offered; the way his MLS contract was negotiated simultaneously with the Everton deal tells me the MLS deal was written with an eye towards leaving.

Lastly, over the next 5 months I wouldn't trust ANYTHING I read or heard from MLS, Everton or Donovan... there's no upside for anyone to tip their hand too early. The MLS negotiating crew are rank amateurs and tried to play the original loan story as if the Everton deal in December was on hold because of other "offers" from unknown European Clubs... which was pure crap.

What Moyes's press conference tells me is that, barring an MLS lockout, Landon Donovan will return to the States in March. What was left unsaid... is that the real dance begins in July and all three parties know it. I think the fans and Moyes and Donovan have done everything right so far in terms of setting the table for a deal after the World Cup. My guess is that it's probably going to happen.

Reader Comments

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Shaun Brennan
1   Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:35:15

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Can Everton come up with the money this summer?

Which piece of Familly silver would we have to sell? Pienaar? Fellaini?

I doubt very much well be able to buy him in the summer judged on previous years. StillI wouldn’t mind having him as a permanent addition on what he has produced so far.
Ciarán McGlone
2   Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:33:59

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I’m going to play high treason here and suggest that it’s not a big deal that we sign Landon...

Fair play to him, he’s given us something we’ve been sorely lacking on the right for a long time — and has rightly got the plaudits for it.

But, this has merely shown us what we can do with a reasonable player on the right giving us balance.... Now, don’t get me wrong — I’d rather we signed Donovan than no-one for that side of the pitch... but I think we could and should be aiming (money permitting) for the best we can achieve in that position..

Is Donovan really the best player we can hope for in that position? And this is why we have improved?

Or it is that we have been simply missing a competent player on that side of the pitch for so long that we’re willing to jump the first one that comes along that shows us what a bit of pace, skill and balance can achieve?

Having said that, I’ll not be shedding too many tears if Donovan does join us... the only thing I’d be concerned about is whether he sees himself as a full-time winger... To be honest I think he’s more interested in the Cahill position — which IMO also brings him into conflict with Bily...
James Stewart
3   Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:47:16

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Ciaran beat me to it. It was no surprise to me how well he has done. If you had seen him play in the Confederations Cup and various other times for USA then you would have had more confidence in his signing. He is a very good player with one outstanding quality. PACE!

Seriously it creates all sorts of things if you have a wide player with genuine pace. Defenses panic make mistakes they wouldn’t normally. I think Donovan would be a great signing if we can get him. However, another winger with pace would be equally a good signing, so either or would be just as good.
Anthony O'Sullivan
4   Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:57:29

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We will piss about untill the summer when he will be snapped up by Spurs — as usual at Everton.
Brian Waring
5   Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:52:45

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I bet you any money that the MLS would be looking for a lot more than £6m, at the end of the day he is their most prized asset. Also, he has done well, but in my opinion he’s not worth big bucks.
Sam Higgins
6   Posted 11/02/2010 at 13:58:06

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The wild card issue of his wife is easily resolved.

Introduce her to John Terry.
James Elworthy
7   Posted 11/02/2010 at 14:12:51

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Donovan is a quality player and a leader. He plays with his brain unlike many modern day footballers. He was in the dying seconds when the ball was in the corner ordering Neville go get back and defend.

Sunday tabloids have been saying we will get him for £3M — what a bargain! You don't have to sell the crown jewels to get him; Vaughan £2M, Victor £2M, Yak £6M, Yobo £4M are all players I expect to move on in the summer, with Beckford hopefully free and Mucha free this would leave 11m to buy a quality midfelder and a left back.

I think you can get a £10M player for £5M these days as football is reeling from the overspending of previous years. However, the surplus £11M will probably go on unpaid installments on previous buys or overheads knowing us.

Dave Whitwell
8   Posted 11/02/2010 at 14:15:51

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This more than anything Everton have done should be exploited as a commercial deal.

We should do the math now, my guess is that anything up to say £10m over 4 years would probably pay for itself if handled properly. To maximise this though he must be an Everton by the time he plays in the world cup. Everytime he is mentioned on media coverage at the WC it should be alongside "Everton" player.

There must be all sorts of commercial deals to be done here he is there footballing equivalent of Beckham!

We should also be sorting of pre-season tours now, starting in Aus exploiting the Cahill angle with a stop off in LA exploiting Donavan & Howard before returning home.
Roberto Birquet
9   Posted 11/02/2010 at 14:40:56

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Can Everton come up with the money this summer? Answer - Yes

Where do you get that from?

I can only assume that if we can convince him to sign a long deal, the money would come selling Pienaar. Peanuts has a year on his contract and wants to play in another league. I will be amazed to see him at Goodison in September — but mightliy pleased.

Fellaini in the centre and Donovan on the right has definitely given us the balance we lacked in the autumn. If Pienaar goes, I would expect us to go all out for Donovan, and get a loan player to keep up the midfield numbers. That’s it. In case you haven’t worked it out, Everton have no extra dosh.

Was Bily bought in preparation for the exit of Pienaar? — I kinda think so...
Giles Larkman
10   Posted 11/02/2010 at 14:59:03

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I checked his profile on wikipedia, and it said that he seperated from his wife a few months ago. I think that is the only thing that would’ve stopped him wanting to come. I would be very happy to have him as a full time player (if it’s at the right price).
Shaun Brennan
11   Posted 11/02/2010 at 14:53:18

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Jan Mucha is a goalkeeper and Beckford is a striker. I don’t really think a striker is our priority. We are really lacking quality in the wide areas of midfield. Well that's my opinion.

Hopefully Coleman will be what 22 next season, me thinks he’s old enough if he is good enough.

Mark Reid
12   Posted 11/02/2010 at 15:53:40

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For me, Donovan seemed to learn a lot from the RS game.

He was the most physical I’ve seen him in a blue shirt yesterday, battling the left backs (and centre mids) and giving them a torrid time.

Well done, Donovan. Let's hope player power will out this time.

BTW, it's apparent that many Americans actually want him to stay, having already given so much of his career to LA Galaxy, the general view I’ve gotten back when writing about him was along the lines of:

We want him to go to Everton and not waste his talent.... (to paraphrase).

I’d welcome him permanently. So hopefully a deal could be reached with the MLS who own his contract. If anything him coming here strengthens the MLS as they obtain genuine credibility — as a "feeder league", thereby helping MLS development.

Let's hope the MLS see the big picture, that having a top American at Everton/in the Premier League will strenghthen their domestic league!
Damian Scott
13   Posted 11/02/2010 at 15:57:57

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I remember reading that the buyout of his MLS contract was only £2.5 million... If we can get him for that, it would be bargain of the century!
Dan Brierley
14   Posted 11/02/2010 at 17:06:34

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I hope he can stay, he certainly gives us an extra dimension, and will be within our price range, and pay structure. He’s been a breath of fresh air down the right hand side. And I think Roberto has a good point. Given that Pienaar rejected his contract last summer by all accounts, I think it speaks volumes the fact we have heard nothing more.

But that said though, if we can get upwards of £20 million and bring in a replacement and some more squad depth (a la Heitinga and Distin replacing Lescott), then we will be in a stronger position.

Some people will complain that it is ’sell to buy’, but so what if we end up better off? I have no regrets over Lescott's departure. I think we are better for it. We have all seen the financial reports, there won't be vast amounts of money this close season. I have no problem with Moyes sanctioning sales, as his transfer dealings are simply excellent.

Ajay Timothy
15   Posted 11/02/2010 at 18:28:39

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It is amazing to see how many fans here in the US have now become Everton fans due to Donovan and to a lesser degree because of Howard.

On a seperate note, I see that Cashley Cole may not make the World Cup. Could it be that Baines may be in as a capable replacement?
Stewart Littler
16   Posted 11/02/2010 at 19:03:39

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Ciaran, you do make a very good point, sometimes is it not better though to go with what you know? Donovan has done something that the likes of Fellaini & Bilyaletdinov before him have struggled to do and that’s settle.

Can we get the money? Simple answer, yes. By selling, but not necessarily star players. To put it brutally, Moyes has got to make some hard decisions this summer. Hibbert has to be considered 3rd choice at right back by next season. Yobo has got to be 5th choice centre back if Senderos is signed on a free. The two could fetch £5 mill and would be perfect for any promoted side due to their experience of the Premier League. I like both, but I see 6 players who are better or have the potential to be in those 3 slots. Likewise Vaughan, who could fetch another couple of million, with Beckford coming on a free. If that activity raised enough to buy Donovan, I would be pretty satisfied.

At the end of the day, it’s up to him isn’t it? I’m almost certain he will go back to MLS in March, but I have a feeling this will only serve to highlight what he’s missing out on. Even Neville joined in a bit to give our right side a dangerous look to it, and I think inside he’s loving every minute.
Tony Doran
17   Posted 11/02/2010 at 19:24:04

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Already loads of yanks sitting by me in the main stand last night. They must have knocked off a wagon ’cause every one of them was wearing a northface coat.
Brian Waring
18   Posted 11/02/2010 at 19:56:27

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Another point would be, if he himself wanted to stay with us, and if he keeps the performance levels high, he’ll probably end up with a few Prem suitors.
Christopher McCullough
19   Posted 11/02/2010 at 20:01:34

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Brian, I firmly believe that, if he stays in England, it will be at Goodison. Everton are clearly a club that can match his ambitions.
Graeme Bradman
20   Posted 11/02/2010 at 21:26:16

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The other thing that Donovan has that many other options in wide positions don’t generally have is a great work ethic, and confidence bordering on arrogance that comes from years of being a successful big fish in a little sea. Who do you now who can play out wide, has the above, as well as great pace, and an eye for a goal?
Iain Love
21   Posted 11/02/2010 at 21:39:43

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A player who gets my nod for MotM when playing against arguebly the best L/B in Europe. In the few games he’s had, he’s done well, very well really... and we possibly can get him for £6 mill? Dead cert.

When we have two genuine wide players — or should I say players who’s natural positions are left and right — we are a MUCH better team.

Dick Fearon
22   Posted 11/02/2010 at 22:21:06

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Where Ciaran says "it only shows what we can do with a reasonable player on the right side," it brings to mind what I said about our desperate need for someone in that that position a few years ago. Then, we had Osman almost a permanent fixture in that role and my words were, "We don’t know what we are missing until we get a half decent player to replace Osman."

Donovan is a clued-up hard working pacy player who does the simple things without overdoing the fancy dan stuff. Unlike Leon he is not the type to be dominated or pushed around or play the invisible man.

At the same time he does not strike me as being a genuine class act. However, he makes Osman look like a one-paced weakling and fulfils my prediction of a few years ago.

Jamie Crowley
23   Posted 11/02/2010 at 22:50:06

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We should sign him... but I highly doubt we will. MLS is going to hold him for very big money. $6M won’t do it if he keeps up his form. He’s the face of the league, and they desperately need a marketable player to showcase.

He’s been superb. I’m not objective when judging his play. I, as an American, am passionately rooting for the guy and probably overlook his poor play and shortcomings: but they have been few and his pace and crosses have been spectacular IMO.

If we are going to spend on a right sided player we should sign him and not another.

One final note: many on here were stating they thought he wasn’t up to the high standards of the EPL. I sincerely hope those who thought so continually underestimate American players. Our National squad is frankly underrated. The quality of player, although not in the large numbers you see in Europe, is increasing massively in recent years in this country.

You English fellas shouldn’t take that first match in World Cup group play very lightly. We’d like nothing more than to be seen as a typical American side to be walked over when we meet in June.

I’m not saying we’ll win — but it’s a hell of a lot more possible than I think many of you over there think.

200 years later a table has turned. Someone mount a horse and ride through the countryside yelling, "The Americans are coming! The Americans are coming!"

No offense, but I’d love to beat England. And we’ve got more quality than I think a lot of Brits give us credit for.

Back to all things EFC.... sign the kid as quickly as possible, if possible.

Mike Gaynes
24   Posted 12/02/2010 at 00:13:10

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I agree with Jamie... MLS will put a larger price tag on Donovan than Everton can afford... but it may be possible that if Donovan wants to stay badly enough, he can force MLS to let him go for some sort of settlement. He’s the one player in America with the weight to give orders to MLS. He got to choose his own team here, and he may be able to choose his departure.

Donovan has already changed the odds for the USA/England showdown. The papers are reporting that Cole’s broken ankle -- an injury he incurred while tangling with Donovan -- may keep him out of the World Cup. That would put Donovan nose-to-nose with Wayne Bridge (pun intended) or his own teammate Baines. Wow.

And Pete, it’s funny you should mention Donovan’s wife... he’s in the midst of a rather unpleasant divorce, so that won’t keep him in LA In fact, it might be an incentive to hightail it out of there!
Chris Powers
25   Posted 12/02/2010 at 00:42:46

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Writing from the US, just to confirm the comment that, yes, most football fans here want him to stay at Everton so as not to "waste his talent." No joke. There’s a football inferiority complex here, for obvious reasons.

It has been frustrating to watch US players go to Europe, only to end up sitting on the bench frequently, with the exception of goalkeepers. So most fans here are thrilled to see him do well at Everton and with the warm welcome he has received. (Giving him the number 9 jersey did not go unnoticed.)

And, yes, more than a few of us have begun following and pulling for Everton since Donovan’s arrival, though we love Howard, too. (I got up a 7 am and went to a pub to watch the game this weekend.)

Great team, great fans, great manager, seems like Donovan is happy and contributing. And I, too, think he can call his own shots with the chumps at the MLS, so I think there is a good chance for a deal if Everton has a longer-term interest.

(Sorry to hear about Cole. Hope he’s on the field on 12 June.)

James Flynn
26   Posted 12/02/2010 at 02:04:08

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I’m American in America. My dad is a 2nd generation, red-headed, New York City Irish -American (with all the anti-Brit sentiment Englanders might imagine). Despite the rejection of England’s #1 sport among Irish-Americans in NYC, my dad loved soccer. He loved it! And so, I grew up knowing, loving, and understanding a game I never played, saw on TV, or walked out into the street and saw kids playing.

All that is in the way of introducing myself as a new and proud Everton supporter. Because Everton and Mr Moyes have given the top-flight American player a fair shot at playing in the top professional league on earth; the EPL. And he’s producing!!

Believe me. Wait until next year, once Everton secures Landon’s contract (which WILL happen. Forget all the money talk). In the end, MLS will cut the deal that has him in an Everton jersey permanently. He’s nothing in England, fair enough, but his oar pulls a lot of water over here, believe that. He’s the only soccer player in our country with legitimate national recognition.

Anyway, since the Toffees will have legit EPL Silverware aspirations in 2011, I’m happy to be a new member of the fan club, especially as my country’s top player will be a part.

Up Everton!!
Andrew Weinfeld
27   Posted 12/02/2010 at 02:51:27

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Also an American, and HUGE Toffees fan. Already have Myself, the wife, our 4-year-old and 1-year-old decked out in Donovan jerseys.

Incidentally, my son, Landon, was kinda named after Landon Donovan, and I have the CUTEST picture with my son and Landon Donovan taken before the US - Argentina soccer game. Donovan is a true gentleman, and a fantastic footballer. and hey, Tim Howard ain't so bad either!!

Up Everton!

James Flynn
28   Posted 12/02/2010 at 02:40:27

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I’m back. I have read here different versions of "We can’t afford the MLS’ price on Donovan". Forget that. Landon WILL be a Toffee. In the EPL, or Europe, money talks. It does in the MLS, just not in the same way.

Landon is far and away our best player ever. Not even close. You in England can’t understand how important it is to us over here that Landon kick ass in the EPL. If Landon’s not good enough for top-flight EPL competition, we don’t have another at his ability level. We will soon, just not yet.

With that, MLS will work out a deal where Landon stays or transfers to the EPL. He’s obviously a big contributor to what Mr. Moyes wants to do next season and he equally wants to be a part of a big Everton team in 2010/2011.

I look forward to discussing everything Toffee here.

Up Everton!!
Dirk Sanders
29   Posted 12/02/2010 at 03:42:32

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If Donovan’s wife is the issue... the issue is solved, as they have split. I hope Donovan stays at Everton and continues to improve.
Mike Taylor
30   Posted 12/02/2010 at 03:43:00

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Another Yank’s thought on why LD will switch to Everton or another EPL team.

1. MLS wants European credibility.

2. The MLS views the big picture on growth and letting LD go to the EPL benefits the League and LD.

3. LD will leave Everton in March in order to play one more MLS season to say goodbye to his fans, next January transfer should be the focus.


1. Fans are the same everywhere, assholes who never see the light and others need to get out of the sun. LD’s run of games shows his talent, he keeps getting better, adjusting, learning.

2. Donovan is marketable, I bet every website for Everton has had a spike in visits since his arrival..

3. America is a sports heaven, just not soccer right now. The 1st EPL team to truly break the American market will reap the rewards. When Chelsea played in Seattle for an exhibition game, the event was sold out with over 60,000 in attendance.

1. You already have one yank on the team and the quota is filled.

Michael Parrington
31   Posted 12/02/2010 at 05:14:32

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I’ll agree with Ciaran on this one, although Donavan does deserve some credit and praise for his efforts.

The key point is that he’s brought some balance into the flanks that have given Everton an opportunity to attack teams down both wings. This has been missed, because of both the right back and the right midfielder lacking ability and or pace.

Moyes has some work to do to get a right back who is supportive of the right midfielder. Just look how often and how far Baines gets up the field and works in with either Piennar or Bily on the left. We need this to be reproduced on the right.

Before Donovan goes off back to the sun, I would like to see how he fits in with an attack minded right back, and this will mean Coleman getting a run, even if he is still a bit of a raw potential talent. But then again if the choice was Donovan or Arteta for that spot who would you select??

The main reason I agree with Ciaran’s point is that with Arteta fit, Fellaini fit, Rodwell fit, Cahill fit, Piennar fit, Osman fit and with Jagielka perhaps coming back into the squad and allowing Moyes more options for defensive midfielders as well, I cant see Donavan spending a lot of time on the pitch even if he does get signed. I think Donovan knows this and thats why he’ll go back to the MLS.

But, I agree with some of the marketing comments, it could be great business and could help Everton attract some extra sponsorship funds and shirt sales.

Jason Lam
32   Posted 12/02/2010 at 05:54:27

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One very obvious reason why Donovan would be more marketable in England than say Germany, Spain, Italy - is the language factor. Americans and British speak English (well, if you can include geordie). American fans can read papers or sites about their second favourite club without going through babelfish. You can’t buy a Valencia CF 90th jersey on their website unless you’ve done your share of Linguaphone.

But all this is kaput unless the boy can actually play.
Pete Case
33   Posted 12/02/2010 at 10:27:31

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Interesting Stuff Everyone.

I think that the Galaxy Season ticket holders and the MLS season pass holders (Satellite TV Subscription) will require LD to stay shackled to the USA through July at a minimum... here’s what a blogger in the US had to say:

"There are rumors that a buyout clause was included in the contract. If that is true, neither Donovan, Moyes, nor the Galaxy are saying anything about it in public. In fact, all three parties are saying as little as possible about the future other than talking about honoring the loan agreement.

I would expect Donovan to go back to the Galaxy in March and play with them until the National Team convenes in May. After the World Cup, things will get interesting. I am sure that Everton would like to buy him immediately and have him start the EPL season in blue. I am sure the Galaxy would want to keep him for the rest of the MLS season, milk any post-World Cup buzz and tickets sales the National Teams happens to garner, and agree to sell Donovan in January. "

So July? January... probably no big deal either way.

As for the stray comments above that he might not be good enough, that he might not fit in the line-up, or that a permanent move will somehow put him in a conflict with Bily.... ummm, stop smoking crack.
James Elworthy
34   Posted 12/02/2010 at 10:49:45

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Jason, on my last holiday in Florida, I was praised by a redneck in a shop on how well I spoke English for a foreign person.
Mark Johnson
35   Posted 12/02/2010 at 11:25:27

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Just a quick one: check out this interview with LD just before he came to the mighty blues... quite funny they should try doing it with different players!!
Mark Reid
36   Posted 12/02/2010 at 11:25:43

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A welcome to all our American cousins.

In the whole thing with Donovan and Howard, it shouldn’t be forgotten about our 5 MLS and USL-2 club partnerships (like the grassroots USL-2 club the Pittsburgh Riverhounds?).
Look at the fact we’ve taken Cody Arnoux and Anton Peterlin into the club... for development purposes if nothing else. Plus the near constant visits from the head of international football over there, speaking at conferences and exhibitions etc.

So the arguement about Everton diminishing the MLS if we took Donovan permanently would be mute. If anything "Soccer" in America would and is gaining massively, just by the example Donovan’s setting... and by the avenues Everton have set up to allow players *good enough* to come and play.

Landon’s certainly good enough for me. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City these are hardly skint pub teams now are they?

Let's hope that the inspiration being generated allows more yanks that are good enough to play come and have a go, and then take the experience back home.

Certainly, a greater US support for Everton is only a positive thing.
Pete Case
37   Posted 12/02/2010 at 11:38:28

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James, I didn’t know they spoke English in Florida? Pretty well down to Spanish and Hick nowadays.
David Alexander
38   Posted 12/02/2010 at 12:48:19

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I hope you're right 'cause I like him, he’s had a couple of not so good games but to me the things that he seems to get wrong are positional or decision-making and I’m pretty sure that they are the kind of thing that top class coaching will help him improve.
Jonathan Fogg
39   Posted 12/02/2010 at 13:46:10

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I think the one thing that signing him has highlighted is the glory of having someone who has pace on either flank. How many times do we counter attack, reach the half way line and then turn round and play a square ball? Infuriatingly often is the answer.

Regardless of whether we sign him or not (for what its worth, I love his workrate, pace, intelligence and corner taking) it shows what pace can bring to a team. Contrast his running with Bily who is surely the slowest player we have and there is no contest. Granted, some say Bily is out of position but you get my point.

Greg Carr
40   Posted 12/02/2010 at 13:57:30

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Can we afford Donovan? Assuming these figure of between £3-6 million are true then this seems a reasonable price in today's market. Given the interest he has caused in our great side then we’ll probably make a fraction of this back in merchandise, sponsors etc.. plus of course the fact you will have a decent/possibly above average right winger we desperatly need. Seems a no-brainer?
But, then again, this Everton... so probably not!!!
Mark Reid
41   Posted 12/02/2010 at 15:07:19

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By all accounts his wages on his new deal are of the order of £26k a week too.

Considering his Facebook page has 130k followers, he’s genuinely a one man marketing machine... that EFC could use... and the MLS could continue to use with the "Developed in the MLS" tag.

The number of Yanks who want him here and succeeding is astounding really.

Lets hope BK does his zen-like speeches for the MLS boys and gets them to see sense then ey? Kind of like an EFC AGM? *roll of eyes*
Vinny Garstrokes
42   Posted 12/02/2010 at 18:11:14

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A few are asking will we have the money — Of course we will... but next season, unfortunately, we won’t have Jack Rodwell!!
Kevin Holt
43   Posted 12/02/2010 at 23:30:57

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Donovan too often get’s labeled a striker when he really is more of a playmaker. He can score of course but he prefers to create the goal and only shoots if it is the better option to a pass.

I think that since he was too good for the MLS he just ended up scoring a lot, but on the US National team he is a roaming playmaker. Think in the Iniesta mold. And now that he has Saha and Cahill and so many options, people are seeing his value as a pacey team oriented playmaker with a tireless work rate. In fact, Donovan has never played the right wing position.

Also, he is going to get a lot better once he finds his scoring touch. And finally, thank you to Beckham because it appears Landon has really mastered the pinpoint corner.

Donovan would be a coveted star if it weren’t for the fact he is plagued by being labeled a yank. For the money, it is more than worth it and it will increase Everton’s relationship in the States.

Also, he has lucrative Nike and Gatorade endorsements. I read that Nike has visited him already in Liverpool. I have a feeling Nike will cross market Donovan as an Everton player and Americans will be eating it all up. This may be the kicker, Nike endorsements (coupled with credit card abusing yanks) will provide the income for Everton to keep him.

David Hallwood
44   Posted 13/02/2010 at 00:23:02

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I was on Landon Donovan’s official site and there’s no doubt that his head’s been turned. He referred to the Chelsea game as one of the best he’s ever played in, and that he loves the atmosphere in games over here.

The fact that he was up against probably the best left back in the world and made him look ordinary, will do wonders for his self-belief, I’d love it if he became a permanent fixture and I’ve a sneaking suspicion that he would too.
James Flynn
45   Posted 13/02/2010 at 00:46:16

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David Hallwood makes a better case for Landon coming to Everton permanently than one might think.

In America, even at Galaxy home games, there is not the tumult and pandemonium that EPL rooters take for granted. Believe me, he’s played all these years without hearing that kind of response. Even in our National team, when we play one of the CONCACAF Latin teams in America, it’s like an away game for the US National team.

After all these years, Landon’s getting his first true taste of "The Roar of the Crowd". Might sound silly to you in England, but it’s very real to a fellow like Landon. Stuff like that isn’t part of contract negotiations certainly, but the Toffee followers have put the bug into Landon. He’ll be back with Everton.

And really, if Landon wants to extend the loan this season, the loan will be extended. MLS is not that big in our country. Not because of the game itself (virtually every boy and girl in America plays soccer as his/her first sport), but because the MLS growth pattern has fiscal control as the first rule.

With that, Landon is the only American soccer player in our country that people outside of soccer fans knows. He’s the only soccer player with major endorsement contracts in America. If he says "I’m going to Everton to play", he’s going to Everton.

I can’t wait. With everything else I see about the Everton team, 2011 will see Silverware raised.

Up Everton!

James Flynn
46   Posted 13/02/2010 at 01:33:19

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There are many references to whether Everton can pay for Donovan. If he wants to stay or come back, he will and that’s that. Landon’s in the unique position as an American soccer player in that he has endorsement deals and the general American public actually know who he is. More importantly, the little children of the general public know who he is.

Landon is the one American soccer player who has genuine "Star Quality". Toffee followers have noticed it. Wait until he gets the true feel of the EPL and settles down. He has a little something beyond just playing well. Same thing in America and why Landon will be a Toffee beyond the loan.

Right now, he’s the only American player who can become a Star overseas. A Star in the top professional soccer league on Earth! Do not overestimate how important that is to those who run professional soccer in my country.

Oh, and on top of everything else, Landon excelling on a team that cracks the supposed "Top Four" in the EPL? He’ll stay or come back to Everton. That will happen. Mostly, and mainly, because he wants to. Trust this: MLS will go along with whatever he wants.
Kevin Holt
47   Posted 13/02/2010 at 01:16:55

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Peter Case. Donovan played a World Cup Qualifier in Mexico city, in a hostile 110,000 strong Aztec stadium with an elevation of 2,200 meters in heat smog and humidity. Fans were throwing water bottles at him on corner kicks. OH AND BY THE WAY, HE PLAYED THE FULL 90 MINUTES WITH H1N1 FLU! His assist was sublime as it creased through all 3 defenders.

This guy is a Pro who gives it all out there on the field. And if you cannot see his pace, skill, intelligent play, and passing vision, then you just don’t like American footballers — we are used to that. There are several bids for Donovan and I hope he stays with Everton. We are not as supportive watching Osman or Rodwell nor do we think they play as well. Give credit where it’s due, and just wait till he finds his shooting touch.
James Flynn
48   Posted 13/02/2010 at 01:55:46

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Mark Reid has come closest to why and how Landon will be back (or stay) with the Toffees. Everton has invested in America with its partnerships. It’s not some simple surprise that Landon wound up wearing the Blue and starting every game since he arrived.

The success of Everton will push their profile to first in America because the Toffees were the first to simply plug Landon in and play. Landon deserved the chance, and certainly has to produce for the team, and Everton said, "Come on". My point is that I don’t think the transfer fee will be a problem. It’ll get worked out (and likely already has).

With the 2010 World Cup over, MLS will pursue and sign many older international stars (Drogba, Van Nistelroy, Raul, Henry, etc). Nonetheless, MLS needs Landon to excel in the EPL much more than the EPL needs one player from America.
Mike Taylor
49   Posted 13/02/2010 at 20:41:54

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"With the 2010 World Cup over, MLS will pursue and sign many older international stars (Drogba, Van Nistelroy, Raul, Henry, etc). Nonetheless, MLS needs Landon to excel in the EPL much more than the EPL needs one player from America. "

Think of the MLS as a retirement home: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
James Flynn
50   Posted 14/02/2010 at 03:15:19

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Mike Taylor - You got me pretty well. Mostly because I can’t deny the US is the go-to landing place for top-flight Euro-league players looking for a soft place to land as they enter their final career glide-path.

1. Professional basketball is played around the world with a fine earning potential available outside the US. The same thing for baseball. A professional player in either sport can make a good living without going to America.

2. The top players in those sports, nonetheless, want their shot at the NBA or Major League Baseball; both in the USA.

3. The developmental plan for MLS grew out of America’s 1970s professional soccer league. Despite the fact that the NY Cosmos (Pele, Beckenbauer. Chineglia, etc) packing 70,000 fans into every game, made it obvious soccer could take off, there was no plan to make that happen. So soccer died when Pele, Chinaglia, etal retired. This made MLS (correctly) take an incremental view of growing the sport in our country.

4. MLS is not an independent (Everton, Man U, Liverpool, etc) group of owners. All the MLS teams are owned by one group. Starting out, this was a good idea. We simply didn’t have a "feeder" system for our young men to aspire to. There was no notion of becoming a soccer Pro. We are now at the point where this system has to be adjusted. It’s why there’s about to be a strike by the MLS players.

OK for all that. Those in Europe or England have to understand that soccer is the one sport all little kids in America play. We well know here all the top teams over there. That’s why Chelsea, Man U, Real Madrid play in front of 60,000 when they come here for exhibitions.

So, Mike Taylor, break my balls while you have the chance. Landon is just the first inkling of what’s coming. I’m glad for him and the EPL (which I love). But the only thing missing in MLS is the top scorers in the world (who must be paid). I don’t know what impression it made in England, but when Beckham signed to the Galaxy, he sold out stadiums across America. Then everyone realized David is a solid but complementary player. It’s the scorers we want, just like everywhere else.

With that, we’ll take Henry, Ruud, Raul, Beckham et al as they enter the last part of their career. Just be aware that, once big money Americans throw into MLS, they’ll compete for the top scorers; Cristiano will follow Raul to America, MLS will chase after Wayne Rooney. The only reason the EPL is superior to MLS is money. Over there in England, be safe until you start reading about big money being invested in MLS.

David Cornmell
51   Posted 14/02/2010 at 12:54:28

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If you check one of the other threads you’ll find my view of Donovan, the player. I’ve watched a lot of MLS, plus qualifiers, Confed Cup etc. I’ve long known that the boy can play.

It’s the business end of things I’m finding hopelessly optimistic. US football is odd, odd, odd. As someone above explained, there is no individual club memebership. MLS — the league itself — holds all player registrations and owns all the clubs. Yep, those whacky Americans can’t abide the NHS, but they’ve got socialist football!

He’ll be back in the States in March, of that there is no doubt. Then he’ll go the World Cup. That’ll put him in the shop window for a move. But ultimately, the MLS are not going to let him go cheap, if at all. Any talk to the contrary is foolhardy in the extreme. In short, I doubt we’ll be able to afford him.

I hope I’m wrong. He’s class, and even plays like an Evertonian (if you know what I mean!}), which is why I’ve always kept an eye out for him. And when he goes home in March, we will go through a bad spell, you can bet on it.

But I just can’t see Big Bill winning a bidding war against anyone richer than say, Accrington Stanley. Particularly not for a 28-year-old (in March) American with large wage demands.

James Flynn
52   Posted 14/02/2010 at 16:56:51

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Well, David makes all good points. I will only reiterate what I’ve said here. If Donovan wants to come back to, or stay at, Everton, a deal WILL get cut.

And the deal doesn’t necessarily have to be "Here’s Donovan, give us $XX million" by MLS. Endorsement percentages could be involved. Or even something as (not) so far-fetched as Everton taking on, and playing, another American; say a healthy Charlie Davis. His foot speed and eye for the goal would fit in wonderfully with the Toffees. In fact, they should go after Charlie anyway. You all will love him and it appears he has recovered almost miraculously from a terrible car accident of only months ago.

Anyway, it all really rests with Landon. He is America’s only marketable soccer player and MLS knows it. And at that, nothing on the scale of the Beckhams, Henrys, and Ronaldos of the world. There is nothing left in MLS for him really.

MLS will grow as soon as it decides to jump into the competition to sign the Rooneys and Kakas while they’re in their primes, not near the end of their careers. I imagine EPL fans may not want to hear it, but once you drop down from the top money clubs in Europe, the rest of the teams over there are basically equal to MLS. It’s the elite talent level players that MLS won’t bid for that makes the difference. And that has nothing to do with Landon.

He’s entering his prime years and finally has a top European club giving him a fair chance, unlike his last trip to the Bundesliga where he shined when he played, but the club really didn’t want him.

By the way, I find comments about how expensive Landon will be premature. He didn’t get paid a fortune in MLS. He made much, much more through his endorsement deals. So I don’t see how he will cost too much in salary.

No-one loves to watch him play more than I and as an American I’m super proud that we finally have a player, who’s not a keeper, excelling in the world’s top professional league. But everyone has to earn their way up the salary scale. Donovan’s no different.

In the end, which I’ll say again and again, if Landon wants to play for Everton, MLS will make the deal. There’s really not much they can do to stop him if he wants to go. And it looks to me, he wants to this time — and to Everton.

By the way, since I mentioned him earlier, a healthy Charlie Davis would do wonderfully up front for the Toffees. Someone tell Mr Moyes to go after him. He’s not expensive and, if recovered fully, will give Toffee opponents fits. Believe me, Everton fans will love him.

Kevy Quinn
53   Posted 14/02/2010 at 08:36:58

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I think we need to adopt the song 'Fergie, sign him up'. Two home games in a row against Lisbon and United. Let's start the campaign for Landon Donovan to sign permanently. Moysie sign him up!

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