Donovan ? his country's all-time leading goalscorer ? has transformed himself from being seen as the best player in a below-par league in the MLS, to a geniuine top class player ? all in the last half-a-year or so.
Since landing on the frozen and snowbound tarmack at Liverpool John Lennon airport in January 2010, the American number 10 has overhauled his reputation by some way. After climbing aboard Everton?s bandwagon just before it roared into an unstoppable charge, the Californian has banished the demons from his previous European playing stint in the Bundesliga. (The player was seen as a flop in European football after failing to hit the heights expected of him during spells with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich.)
Yet, upon completion of his 10-week loan spell with Everton he returned home to Los Angeles with such notable scalps as Premier League heavyweights Manchester United, eventual Champions Chelsea as well as a handful of goals and great performances against sides like megabucks Manchester City.
His parent club LA Galaxy have recently stated in the media that it was his experience at Everton which developed Donovan into the player he is now. Those comments came on the back of Donovan lighting up his nation?s World Cup campaign in South Africa with some crucial goals and big performances. The successful campagin of the United States at the tournament has ignitied interest in the sport across their country moreso than anything else in the last 10 years. Even the much heralded arrival of David Beckham to the MLS hasn?t had as much an effect on the game?s appeal as the national team?s showing in South Africa.
It is for that reason that Everton must now do everything in their power to bring the USA legend back to Finch Farm as has been suggested in the national media in the past few days. The marksman?s stock has never been higher than it is right now and it would be no exaggeration to suggest he is now a star on the world stage. To tie him more strongly with Everton is a business no-brainer if ever there was one.
A return would surely have the same type of lucrative benefits for the club in America as Tim Cahill brings the Blues in his homeland Austrailia. Such iconic players on the books works to raising Everton?s profile globally and the more recognition that Everton recieve, the more merchandise they invevitably sell and the more players are attracted to the club and want to play for them. Simple football and business math. The way the modern game works.
It is important to stress, however, that a return for Donovan would be far more than just the right move on a financial level. With his direct play, great pace and eye for goal, the striker-cum-midfielder is exactly the kind of player David Moyes?s squad needs to solve their problematic right flank.
As proved during his time with the Blues, he is perfectly adapted to the team and style which the manger employs, as well as being accustomed to the physicality of the English Premier League.
As well as being linked with Everton in the English tabloids recently, the Galaxy?s brightest star has also been tentatively linked with transfers to other English clubs such as deposed league holders Manchester United. Such gossip can be written off as just that, though, by Everton supporters, with little heed. In a gesture of gratitude for how well he was treated during his time there, the player swore to all Evertonians that, were he ever to return to England, it would only be with the Toffees.
?I?ve never met a fan base like this, either playing for them or as an away player. Forget about football for a moment, this is a experience I?ll never forget.? ? Loyalty like that is a rare commodity in the modern footballer.
The biggest stumbling block without doubt is LA Galaxy?s reluctance to let their key player leave as well as the potential transfer fee he would command. The most circulated rumour is that bringing the player back on a full time basis would cost between £8M-£10M, a price Everton may not be able to pay. In today?s warped transfer market, that sum for a player like Donovan would widely be seen as a bargain but the harsh reality is that the Toffees may not even have half that amount in their transfer funds this summer.
Should that be the case, however, another loan deal akin to his original in the next winter transfer window is an option that would surely have to be explored. Such a deal has proven to be a success for his teammate, David Beckham, who forced his way out of international exile with two successive mid-season loan moves to Italian giants AC Milan in the past two years. A similar system could benefit all parties involved on different levels, were it able to be agreed.
Everton would be able to have a player many still consider to be one of their own to call; the player himself would be able to continue playing a high level of football in the MLS off-season, and his parent club would be able to keep him sharp while they?re not in competitive action themselves.
The important thing is that Everton need to see Landon Donovan return to Merseyside next season for a multitude of reasons. Few players have ever forced themselves into the hearts of the Goodison Park faithful in such a short amount of time as he did and one would hope that his time with the club is not over.
Though matters may be out of the hands of David Moyes for now, while the iron is hot, he would do well to try his best to strike anyway.
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1 Posted 16/07/2010 at 16:53:41
2 Posted 16/07/2010 at 17:19:33
Also, the MLS has just made it abundantly clear they want to keep him in America ? which only makes sense given this interest he has developed there. It is the MLS, by the way that "owns" his registration, not LA Galaxy, who are merely a franchise. It's not up to the LA Galaxy, it's up to the league itself. And their Commissioner, Don Garber, has firmly laid his cards on the table.
Not to say (as I'm sure James Flynn will) that a promise of abundant greenbacks from someone else (United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal) might well persuade them otherwise. In fact, sadly (cos I'd like to see him come back to Everton), the much greater likelihood now is a big-money loan (less likely a move) to one of them.
3 Posted 16/07/2010 at 17:44:31
The marketing door into the States is a big one and, dare I say it, one with a lot less forgery replicas than their typical home, the Far East. Once that door is open, the brand becomes known and you grow your profits.
4 Posted 16/07/2010 at 18:02:59
5 Posted 16/07/2010 at 18:09:14
6 Posted 16/07/2010 at 18:32:23
7 Posted 16/07/2010 at 19:32:44
And second, much as it shocks me to find myself agreeing with Michael, there is no way MLS will sell him for a price Everton could find remotely rational, and the league will want to maximize his value even on a loan.
I'd be delighted to have him back in Everton colors, but I believe that will only happen with a loan that Donovan himself forces MLS to accept. If he wants to return to us for part of next season, he has the weight to make it happen. But I think that's the best we can hope for.
8 Posted 16/07/2010 at 21:49:20
9 Posted 16/07/2010 at 22:17:21
10 Posted 16/07/2010 at 22:21:46
Everton, for all their ethics on debt etc, as a business are still very poorly run. The recent Gosling affair, the Pienaar contract, and also Arteta as well. As supporters we are left in the dark. We don't know the truth. Stuff on the BBC site does not make it to the Evertonfc site. We are left to guess, and read speculation. It is pretty bad when you have to read the BBC site to find out what has happened, as your team site won't report it.
11 Posted 17/07/2010 at 00:51:42
There will always be gossip, counter rumour at this time of year. And it is mounting; MLS, P Neville, and more.
The denial by MLS chiefs that he'll come back sounded like desperation to me. I heard Sean Weelock on 5 Live, a key reporter on US football, say he "will" be going to a European club very soon; and then specifically added "that might be Everton". Then Neville ? rather stirring things ? says "I know for a fact he wants to come back here".
I'm sorry but someone as seemingly close to Moyes as Neville, saying that on a broadcast was no "off the cuff" remark; he knows the media, and he meant to stir things. I'm convinced that Everton are trying to sign him.
As for the player, I think he has intelligence, deft touch, superb accuracy on his crosse, and is super calm under pressure. Not to mention his pace, which I find in so many limited footballers, seldom in so gifted. I don't get those who think he is merely OK. He's no Ronaldo, no Rooney, probably even not Arteta.
But a four-year deal for him is worth WAY more than keeping hold of Pienaar for just one. Moyes has found ways to accumulate a squad by bringing in one special player each year. He needs to do it again, and I'd be delighted were it Landon.
12 Posted 17/07/2010 at 01:46:16
All this talk of world-class et al is silly because he isn't. Yet also comments such as Richard Dodd's 'average player', are also over the top.
World Class = Messi, Iniesta, Ronaldo etc
Average = Sidwell, Pennant, Richardson etc
Very Good = Donovan, Pienaar, Valencia, Nasri, Cole etc (Most big teams are made up of very good players with 1 or 2 world class players.)
The fact that he isn't world class doesn't make him average. He is very good, and I would very much like him to join Everton.
He is very quick, hard-working but what I am most impressed with, yet it surprisingly only been mentioned in 1 previous post #11 (and not much in many previous LD threads) is his SUPERB crossing. He is the best crosser of the ball I have seen in a blue shirt. If we had his crossing with a fully fit Yak or Saha then we will get goals, simple as.
Unfortunately, I dont think we will sign him. We have no money... and, even if we did, £10 million on a 28-year-old isn't the sort of business we do. If we have £10 million, we go go for a Ben Arfa-type player, as there is always the sell-on potential.
The best we can hope for is another 10-week (maybe we can persuade a longer deal) loan in January.
13 Posted 17/07/2010 at 02:06:41
Will he come? I can't see it personally but, should the club lose the battle to keep Pienaar or Arteta, I can see a serious move being made for him.
I think it more likely that in the end we shall see him on loan again which, if it works well, could see a permanent move.
14 Posted 17/07/2010 at 02:23:45
Also, what "lucrative benefits" does Tim Cahill "bring the Blues in his homeland Australia"? Everton haven't got the commercial nous to capitalise on a player's huge popularity in their country of birth.
15 Posted 17/07/2010 at 03:43:33
I also think our pre-season buggers us up. We start poor. I know what happens in pre-season is very physical, but why do Everton have poor starts when other teams do well against us? They train less. Arsenal was a prime example. We should have been able to match them but got beat with six goals.
16 Posted 17/07/2010 at 04:21:09
17 Posted 17/07/2010 at 22:35:32
18 Posted 19/07/2010 at 10:28:19
He did ok when he was here... but ? as soon as Anichebe was fit ? Landon was sat on the bench.
19 Posted 20/07/2010 at 22:51:44
"If we need to have a discussion at some point, then we will", Donovan said. "But at this point that's his opinion. If I were the commissioner I would say the same thing."
I never saw him coming to EFC til MLS season was over. They may be small change in big money EPL, but Galaxy has excellent ownership with its own ambitions. Letting LD go mid-season has always been a non-starter, World Cup year or not.
1. He's Galaxy thru this MLS season.
2. He wants in to EFC, MLS will let him go.
3. He wants to stay in LA (a distinct possibility), he's not coming.
I don't blame Garber. Finally, his league has an American-born and raised, world-famous player. But LD will be where HE wants after MLS season, not where Garber says.
20 Posted 20/07/2010 at 23:04:10
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