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Bring Back Captain America

By Terry McAllister :  16/07/2010 :  Comments (20) :
Despite being a reasonably big name in football for a while now, Landon Donovan has seen his star rising at a tremendous rate these past 6 months.

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.

Reader Comments

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Brian Waring
1   Posted 16/07/2010 at 16:53:41

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Still can't understand all the hype, and get him back at all costs. He did okay when he was with us, but did nothing spectacular to warrant the love-in. He also had a decent World Cup, with some good performances, but come on... "A star on the world stage"? The funny thing is, we haven't even shown any interest in him.
Michael Kenrick
2   Posted 16/07/2010 at 17:19:33

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It's a dead rubber is it not? We haven't shown any interest because we haven't got any money, and we aren't bringing in any more new signings before the start of the season.

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.
Gavin Ramejkis
3   Posted 16/07/2010 at 17:44:31

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I rated Donovan whilst he was with us as he gave us width and some valuable performances. Don Garber realises Donovan's value is right at it's peak now after the World Cup and his being their highest ever World Cup goalscorer, the marketing value of that to anyone with the acumen to exploit it is worth a whole lot of income. Any team that bought him right now should be thinking exactly the same with the cost being offset on shirt sales and any advertising revenue they could gain.

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.
David Hallwood
4   Posted 16/07/2010 at 18:02:59

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Brian, I'm a huge Donovan fan, and from where I was sitting (the Main Stand) I watched a player that gave us an extra dimension, a player with a good footballing brain, with a great engine and work ethic, and I'd do a jig in the street if it was announced that he was coming over.
Richard Dodd
5   Posted 16/07/2010 at 18:09:14

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His reputation seemed to get enhanced once he was left out of the side. Can`t see Davey breaking the bank to bring such an average player back to Goodison. My American friends rate him some way behind David Beckham ? both as a crowd attraction and a player!
Brendan O'Doherty
6   Posted 16/07/2010 at 18:32:23

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According to James, it seems Mrs Donovan has put her foot down and he's not going anywhere. So that's that.
Mike Gaynes
7   Posted 16/07/2010 at 19:32:44

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Terry, I'm a big Donovan fan and share your hope that he will return to Everton, but I must join the skeptics here. First, Donovan doesn't qualify as a "legend"... although he had some fine moments, particularly the roof shot against Slovenia, he wasn't even the best USA player at the World Cup (Bradley and Dempsey were better overall). So, while he'd be a great fit on the right side, let's not overstate his wonderfulness.

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.
Brian Waring
8   Posted 16/07/2010 at 21:49:20

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David, I actually think he's a decent player, but he's not world class, or even top quality, and that's my problem, some of our fans have turned him into some sort of messiah that we can't do without.
John Crook
9   Posted 16/07/2010 at 22:17:21

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The player wants to come, as per Phil Neville. Moysie wants him, Galaxy don't want to sell; we cant afford... Landon will be back in January for loan period No 2 ? Simples!
Simon Watts
10   Posted 16/07/2010 at 22:21:46

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Everton could have negotiated something at the time he was at Everton. They didn't want to part with cash again. That is the problem. They now would pay 3 times as much.

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.

Roberto Birquet
11   Posted 17/07/2010 at 00:51:42

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I am definitely on the 'bring him back' side of the argument.

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.
Fran Mitchell
12   Posted 17/07/2010 at 01:46:16

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He is a very good player.

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.
Christine Foster
13   Posted 17/07/2010 at 02:06:41

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I think Donovan gave the team pace and his delivery from wide was class. His work rate and tracking back were good too. His value to Everton for me was really apparent when Big Vic replaced him. The gulf between the two was enormous (still is) which begs the question how much longer will we wait to see the best of Victor? Or have we?

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.
John Daley
14   Posted 17/07/2010 at 02:23:45

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Fucking Donovan again? This is getting like Groundhog Day now. We're not signing him. Move on.

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.
Simon Watts
15   Posted 17/07/2010 at 03:43:33

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Well said, John. I think Everton need to keep Moyes, obviously, but get rid of the hangers on in admin, and the board. They will never find a backer, or buyer. They don't want one either. They are happy doing the little they are doing now and reaping the rewards.

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.

Carlos Camacho
16   Posted 17/07/2010 at 04:21:09

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If we crave a yank, how about Dempsey? I'd like to see him playing in the middle alongside Arteta and Fellaini. Or how about DeMerit who is already in England playing for a lowly club. He had a good World Cup IMHO. I would even welcome Bradley because he has the guts that represents the Blues, a bit like Mad Dog but with the crazy shooting from mid-field.
Richard Reeves
17   Posted 17/07/2010 at 22:35:32

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I'd like to see Donovan back in the team because he brought a balance to the team. He's a decent player who works hard, has pace, a good footballing brain, and fits in with the other lads. If he would cost £10 mil, then I would probably look elsewhere... but you know that, with Donovan, it works.
Gareth Humphreys
18   Posted 19/07/2010 at 10:28:19

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He did ok when he was here... but ? as soon as Anichebe was fit ? Landon was sat on the bench.
James Flynn
19   Posted 20/07/2010 at 22:51:44

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Last week, MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league would not consider transfer offers for Donovan

"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.

It remains:
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.

David Price
20   Posted 20/07/2010 at 23:04:10

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Landon just seemed to fit perfectly into the style of play from the first minute. When you think of the first games, or even a season, for lads like Baines, Fellaini, Heitinga & Bily to settle, Landon eased in brilliantly. If a Yakubu sale would have paid for him, then it's a chance missed. Hopefully one of our millionaire board members can come up with the cash. We'll be ok for a few years with what we've got so let them have the Sky money over that time. T&G eat your hearts out at such simple accounting!!

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