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Reports: Landon Donovan considering multiple free agent MLS offers

Photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports

Photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports

Landon Donovan shocked the American soccer landscape with his return from retirement in the middle of the 2016 season, and it appears there’s a chance that he isn’t quite done yet.

Soccerwire reported Wednesday that Real Salt Lake had been in touch with Donovan about a potential move as he continues to mull over whether or not to continue his playing career. Donovan is free to sign with any team as an MLS free agent, and he was allegedly seen in Salt Lake City recently.

ESPN added that an unnamed Eastern Conference club has also approached the LA Galaxy legend. As things stand, RSL has Yura Movsisyan and Joao Plata occupying two of three Designated Player spots while the third was vacated by the departure of Juan Manuel ‘Burrito’ Martinez.

Sports Illustrated previously reported that the Galaxy were unwilling to bring Donovan back on a Designated Player deal after signing him on a dramatically reduced deal for the latter part of 2016. During his return, Donovan scored one goal in six regular season matches before adding an additional assist in three playoff efforts.

59 comments
  • johnnyrazor

    Landon had to be thinking if Beasley is getting a January call maybe I should keep playing too.

    Might Columbus be the Eastern Conference team, with Berhalter’s time in LA and with Landon on the Nats, they’d have DP spots open, although they need defense not offensive help.

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    • Old School

      I don’t understand the prospect of discussing Landon Donovan and national team call-ups. He looked like a shell of himself on his return. If we call him up, that’s a pretty sad indictment on the state of affairs under Bruce Arena.

      Liked by 1 person

      • johnnyrazor

        I don’t think based on his play this season he realistically should be either, and from comments made by Arena and LD they don’t either. I was trying to make a joke, knowing that someone will eventually call for him to be brought into the national team. If Beasley didn’t play the most shallow of American positions I doubt he’d be considered either. Truly, I’d prefer to see him stay retired, he was actually showing improvement in the announcing booth during Copa America.

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      • don Lamb

        Old School – One more thing… I think the biggest indictment about the team recently (maybe of the entire Klinsmann era) is that the ONLY times that the team ever looked rampant when he was at the helm was with Donovan on the field — Gold Cup 2013, Scotland in Jax, and the first half of his send off game.

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      • johnnyrazor

        Don you are doing some revisionist stuff here. There certainly is a case for Landon to have been included for Brazil, but the Landon who was playing in the Spring of 2014 was not the Landon we saw playing in the Gold Cup in 2013. The US getting past Belgium with Donovan on the field is highly unlikely so the continued lamenting of it is as useless as Wondo with an open net from three feet.

        If your theory is correct that Donovan’s exclusion was so debilitating to the squad how were they able to defeat Ghana and come within seconds of beating Portugal, it doesn’t hold water. They also defeated two European powers on the road something no other US manager accomplished and made a run to the semis of Copa America. Also not a rampant performance, but Klinsmann’s side defeated Italy on Italian soil without Donovan.

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      • don Lamb

        Klinsmann got some great result over Italy, Germany (x2) and Holland, but in none of those games did we look like a team that could win that game if it had meant anything. We were obviously good enough to beat Ghana in 14 and play well against Portugal, but that does not have anything to do with the fact that the US could have REALLY used Donovan at times during that tournament.

        And I am not saying that he would be his old self — or even that that is what we need right now. But consider this humongous transition that Klinsmann was forced to oversee. Don’t you think it could have gone better if he had managed Donovan better and allowed him to have some influence over the team as a veteran leader and an experienced player who you could likely count on in a big moment? Post Brazil would have gone A LOT more smoothly for Klinsmann if he hadn’t run Donovan off.

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      • bottlcaps

        Unlike Klinsmann, Arena will not freely make changes in the USMNT looking for that “something” he thinks he may find. Arena builds from the back and pretty much uses the same players. If Arena brings in Beasley or Donovan to a camp, he is only looking for cover on the depth chart and most likely players who can play more than one position in tournament play. There are too many good players right now, in front of Donovan or Beasley, for him to consider these veteran player but that might not be true at a later date and Arena prepares accordingly.

        Donovan still has gas in the tank and good wheels, maybe not as quick and he needs to sharpen game sense and touch which with most experienced players come back with more games played.
        My opinion is that Donovan would be a good pickup as a DP in the 1-2M range, as remember we have paid a lot more to a lot less. I think if Arena was still at the LAG, LD would have a spot, maybe as a DP, but maybe even as a high TAM player. Without Arena there, LD is under no obligation to stay. And if you believe Arena in saying that Donovan could get a USMNT call-up, this would only be possible if 1.) Klinsmann was gone, and Arena was USMNT coach and LD had a spot on a team and got regular playing time, something that is usually guaranteed to a DP player . Its like the stars have aligned.

        As to whether anybody thinks that LD did not deserve a spot in the 2014 WC, then they drank the same poisoned Kool-Aid that Gulati drank with the Klinsmann era. Up and down the line, we are now too aware of all the shortcomings as a National Team coach that Klinsmann was. Too many gave JK the benefit of the doubt on LD’s egregious omission from the ’14 team, that doubt has been erased from many, and almost all, by now.

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      • quozzel

        I watch Donovan play against the Carolina Railhawks in the US Open a week or so after Klinsmann cut him from the USMNT.

        The Railhawks beat the Galaxy 1-0, and Donovan looked…bad. Overweight, slow, a shell of himself. Honestly at that point he looked like a blown player and I figured he’d never remotely return to form. I wasn’t the only one who saw it; everybody around me was just shaking their head and saying: “Dude got old in one mighty big hurry.”

        He had a bit of a resurgence down the stretch and looked a good bit better by the time the MLS All-Star game arrived but at the time Klinsmann made the cut, Donovan was in maybe the worst form of his career. I know; I saw it with my own eyes. That wasn’t invective or spin or Klinsmann coach-speak; Donovan, for whatever reason, was just in putrid form.

        FWIW.

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    • don Lamb

      Old School – There was always the possibility that Landon Donovan could easily play a big part for the national team through 2018 — at least! That possibility was there of course until Klinsmann tossed it out the window… Donovan will be a very young 36 year old player in 2018. A legend who has always played biggest on the big stage. A leader that shows a drive and will and intensity on the field that completely goes against that tired “Landycakes” criticism.

      Despite having elite athleticism, Donovan is one of the tidiest and hardest working players that the US has ever seen. The thought that he can’t cope because he has lost a step is not true. It won’t take him long to get back up to speed, and the fact that he can pick and choose the best destination for him is huge! Not only was he not fit when coming back to the Gals at the end of the season, but he simply wasn’t a great fit in that roster either.

      Two teams in the East stand out for me: NYRB where I think he would really respect and enjoy playing for Marsch in that high tempo style or Columbus Crew where he knows Berhalter and could play any of those four attacking positions that he uses.

      Arena back in with the US team means that adding Donovan back into the conversation makes total sense. There was always the possibility that he would AT LEAST play a big leadership/bench role for the team through 2018. It would not take much in terms of seeing something from Donovan on the field to bring him back and act just like that whole Klinsmann debacle never happened.

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      • Gary Page

        I guess you didn’t see him play for the Galaxy last season. As both a Galaxy and LD fan, he was very disappointing. Hardly made any impact, really. The Galaxy missed Zardes a lot more than they missed Donovan.

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      • don Lamb

        You missed where I admitted that he was not good this year when I mentioned that he was not in form or fit and that he did not fit in with the rest of the Galaxy roster (dos Santos, Lletget, Husidic, Gordon, Gerard, no Zardes, no Keane) at that point.

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  • BW

    He can do what he wants to do. I hope he comes back and kicks ass. Though right now I would not value him at a DP level contract.

    Like

    • don Lamb

      Check yourself, dude. He played professionally and internationally non-stop from ages 19 to 32. During just about all of that period he carried every team that he was on. He deserves to step away for a bit, especially after the stunt where he was sacrificed for no apparent reason before Brazil.

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      • johnnyrazor

        Your comment is mostly accurate but Levekuessen, Bayern Munich, Everton (filled in well, but didn’t carry the club), and LA (after Robbie Keane’s arrival) would argue with your “he carried every team that he was on” comment. Certainly not overrated as an American player, but he’s not that guy anymore either, father time does that to us all.

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      • Anthony

        Johnnyrazor,

        Add the 2006 World Cup as well! Listen, I like Donovan, and I think he was the most talented player of his generation, but Don is obviously looking at it through tinted lenses and providing revisionist history. He was already physically burnt out before the world cup. He took a break for a reason; he started to break down (and it makes sense). If this was LD circa 2008-10, sure but LD now, even if he never stopped playing would not be the same player.

        He has a lot of miles on him. Wayne Rooney has a lot of miles on him as well. He is younger than LD and looks a shadow of himself. And he was a world class player at his peak; a whole different class from LD.

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      • don Lamb

        Maybe he isn’t THAT guy anymore, but he’s still Landon fin Donovan. He can absolutely get back to form and be useful (at least just as a leader) to the national team.

        He was good in Germany. He wasn’t carrying those teams by any means, but he easily could have had a very long and distinguished career in Germany if he wanted to. He was done dealing with the bs that he was in Europe and decided that he had better options in MLS. By most measurements he carried the Quakes and Galaxy (and even played a big part in carrying the entire league) for the majority of his career. In his stints with Everton, I don’t think it’s stretching it too much to say he carried that team through at least one January-May run.

        Meanwhile, there is no denying that he has carried the national teams that he has been on for a good 15 years. Dempsey has had some big moments and the keepers have been huge, but Donovan was heavily leaned on for his production from about 2000-2013. He only responded by having all time goals AND assists records. Even if he is not asked to play a major role on the team, his experience and game breaking ability could be huge assets for a team that features younger players like Wood, Pulisic, Bradley, Brooks, etc

        The lack of perspective in these comments that down play Landon Donovan’s importance to US Soccer are startlingly stupid.

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      • johnnyrazor

        “The lack of perspective in these comments that down play Landon Donovan’s importance to US Soccer are startlingly stupid.” Totally agree, but did you see him play this season? He’s not that guy anymore. He can help an MLS team as mentor/sub player sure, but not if he’s asking for DP money?

        And look can you honestly say he deserves to be on the field ahead of Altidore, Wood, Morris, Johannsson, Zardes, even Agudelo and Wondo were much more effective this season. Let Arena hire him as an assistant or special adviser, but there is no place for him on the national team based on his on field performance this season. Arena didn’t seem to want him back with Galaxy after last season why would he want him for the national team.

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      • Helium-3

        He was good in Germany? If LD was “good” in Germany where he barely played or made the 1st team, what does that make Frankie Hedjuk, who was a regular contributor for Leverkusen?

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      • don Lamb

        cmon dude. Donovan was 19 at Leverkusen. Frankie was 25-28. Donovan could have had a much more distinguished career than Hejduk’s 19 appearances in four years (1 goal). Are you serious?

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        Easy to forget that Donovan returned to Leverkusen in Jan. 2005. He made only 2 starts and 7 overall appearances at age 22/23. At that point in his career he’d won two MLS Cups, was two time national player of the year, been named best young player at the World Cup, and had been MLS All-Star Game MVP and MLS Cup MVP. Hejduk had two better seasons than that, but wasn’t a huge success at Leverkusen either. Perhaps by 1999 standards it was, but today it would be considered disappointing.

        After his time at Bayern the President of the club stated that Donovan wasn’t even good enough to play for Bayern reserves. Of course that squad included Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, and a very young David Alaba.

        His time in Germany was not good.

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  • don Lamb

    He was not fit this season, obviously had no form, and he did not have any understanding or natural fit with his teammates at LA. Him being able to select his team is really important in considering this whole scenario.

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    • jus sayin'

      Sorry to say don…. there is no santa claus, the easter bunny is a farce and….LD is nooooo where near the level he needs to be to fill spot on the Nats. If he does sign with a team, no way he sees the end of the season other than perhaps coming off the bench. He’s hardly played in years- when he did- he, was, not, good. As the cliche goes- Father Time is undefeated. I’d say sad, but LD had one heckova run.

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      • don Lamb

        He’s 34, not 40. He can easily get back close to where he was if he is motivated and wants to.

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      • Anthony

        I would be really hard to do at 35 next year. Look, I am not comparing myself to him, but your body breaks down and it was hard to stay in shape forget stay in shape for me who was only a middling university level athlete or for my friends — one of which was a World Class Athlete and Olympian. He lost to father time. It is incredibly difficult, INCREDIBLY, to stop (for any period) then start again. Beasley never stopped and is always injured now.

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      • don Lamb

        I’m 36 and not far from what I was in my prime. This is with no effort/training whatsoever. Donovan is not being asked to maintain Olympic fitness where fractions of a second mean the end of your career. Soccer players can play into there upper 30s and maintain their level of performance (as long as they stay healthy, which Donovan always has) in part because the game is much more than just physical tools and athleticism.

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      • jus sayin'

        Uhhh, Don. You are 36 and close to what you were in your prime because the bar is WAY lower. You are not, have never been nor been close to having had to compete t that level… the demands of being an elite athlete and maintaining are immense… Please stop.

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  • Ash

    Keep in mind that DP is a pretty broad term. I would say he is worth a shot at, or “deserves” a low level DP deal (500k range), considering his service to the league, but I wouldnt sign him for anything more than that.

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  • Anthony

    This is getting annoying. The rantings of LD sycophants is getting too much. Listen, LD was great. He was the mot talented player of his generation. This whole idea that is he gets back in shape, he can play for the USMNT at forward or wing-forward is a joke when the roster is healthy nor would I stunt the development of a young forward. At this point, I would not put him above Altidore, Wood, Morris, Johannsson, Zardes, Pulisic. Not even some other younger guys that are starting to push into the squad. Hell, I think Dempsey should be a 70th min sub at this point.

    He has a lot wear, and was breaking down and was mentally fatigued. If you want him as an assistant, then sure, but as a player he is done. I don’t hate the guy. I have been following him (and the rest of the U20 team since the ’00/01 World Cup). I still remember all those guys, and how pumped I was at the prospect: LD, Beasley, Onyewu, Yi, Convey, Yi, DJ Countess [what happened to him], Akwari and Eskandarian. Virtually all the guys on the team are done. Even Bundle, Brad Davis and Kyle Martino were on the team. Like I mentioned above, Wayne Rooney is 4 years than LD and he has fallen off a cliff. Even Dempsey is a couple years younger than him

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    • don Lamb

      Rooney or any other player has nothing to do with this conversation about Donovan. Many many players have played at a high level at 34, 35, 36 years old. Especially since he has taken a couple of years off, which could have recharged him mentally and physically. There’s no need for you to be mad or annoyed about it. The fact is a motivated Donovan can definitely get back to playing at a high level even at this point in his career.

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      • Anthony

        It does when you making parallels in the evolution on players. They both came into their national teams at about the same time and were equally as important etc. Before he retired, he was already starting to wear down. Let him prove he can be anything near what he was in MLS on a regular basis firts.

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      • don Lamb

        What about Pirlo then? Or Totti? Rooney doesn’t seem to take care of himself the way it seems Donovan does. But that’s dumb anyway. You can’t just take two random players who happen to have played for similar amounts of time and say that their bodies and minds are going to react the same way over the course of their careers.

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  • chris_thebassplayer

    He can still play for the nats if he has the desire to get in the best shape of his life. If he’s willing to spend the time to physically torture himself in training, he can be on the larger nats roster…no problem. His vision and decision making are off the charts. He wasn’t in great playing shape when he came back…easily 10 lbs over the weight he’d need to be at for nats consideration. I’m betting he plays MLS and winds up in SJ via trade after mid season.

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    • Anthony

      Why would SJ take him? He is a luxury player at this point because I personally don’t think he can play 80/90 mins each week for the whole season. He was out of shape for a while. Remember before the World Cup, he said that he could not go every 3 days.

      Like

  • chris_thebassplayer

    SJ is in dire need of a savvy creative player. They don’t have anybody to combo with Wondo. If LD is committed to getting in real playing shape he’d be the perfect player for Wondo. I don’t think anybody expects LD to be buzzing all over the field for 90 min. Anybody that takes him would manage his minutes for maximum effect….Imo he can still be an impact creator as a tucked in mid…more of a set up player. He can’t carry a team on his back, but he could be a very important piece of the puzzle for the right team…make enough plays to be difference maker in tight games.

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  • beachbum

    the same vocal objectors here are the ones who claimed Davis, Green and Wondo were all better choices in 2014…hahaha. They also claimed LD could not play wing anymore back in 2014, parroting Klinnsman’s BS assessment, as all LD did was go back and stud out for the G’s from the left wing spot that very year. Facial served…eat crow. Whatever. Can he still contribute? Hell, I don’t know, but clearly neither do the vocal objectors here, whose track record speaks for itself on LD and is its own indictment of their lack of objective vision regarding him.

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    • jus sayin'

      Of course it is possible he could shine… very possible he could for a short spurt but….. over the course of a season… the course of WC qualifying… heck… a 90 min match???? Very unlikely. As is the case on a forum, we are giving our best guess. There is NOTHING in his words, actions, play, motivation over the last few YEARS that indicate he will be anything but a shadow of his former self. Saying that does not make me a hater, a doubter anything but basing an educated guess being in touch with what is rather than what I wish was. I am and was a fan. He HAD a great career. If he still wants to play? Good onya LD, enjoy! Playing as a DP or in the International game? And with that, I am out.

      Like

  • two cents / lowercase letters guy

    “And if you believe Arena in saying that Donovan could get a USMNT call-up, this would only be possible if 1.) Klinsmann was gone, and Arena was USMNT coach and LD had a spot on a team and got regular playing time, something that is usually guaranteed to a DP player . Its like the stars have aligned.”
    I agree with bc and don lamb “He’s 34, not 40. He can easily get back close to where he was if he is motivated and wants to” and “Arena back in with the US team means that adding Donovan back into the conversation makes total sense. There was always the possibility that he would AT LEAST play a big leadership/bench role for the team through 2018. It would not take much in terms of seeing something from Donovan on the field to bring him back and act just like that whole Klinsmann debacle never happened.”

    like it never happened!

    Like

    • johnnyrazor

      “He can easily get back to close to where he was”. That’s where BC, two cents, and don differ from everyone else. Donovan had time to get back into shape during the end of the season and he didn’t. It wasn’t easy for him as it isn’t from most people and athletes. He wasn’t close to his former form in 2014 and he was even farther in 2016. Arena would be stupid to bring him in as a bench/leadership role. Twenty-three man roster and three have to be keepers and you want a guy who can only play 15 minutes. A big fault of JK was he rarely had a plan B. Let’s say you bring in LD in your sub leader role, and Jozy pulls a hammy and Wood picks up a yellow card suspension (both very possible) now you have to go to Panama in the Summer time with LD and Jordan Morris as your only strikers? If he wants to keep playing that’s fine, but these pipe dreams that he should have spot on the National team just because Arena is the manager are silly. He’s the greatest US national team player of all-time and has the best MLS career of anyone, but that doesn’t mean that Landon can come close enough to that level again.

      Like

      • don Lamb

        So basically some think he can get it back at 34 years old, some don’t. Hopefully he feels like there is a great situation/environment and terms are agreed to so that we get to see which way it plays out!!

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      • jus sayin'

        It is totally possible. With lots of good fortune from the injury gods, with an incredible abundance of hard work, an immense day in day out grind and way more motivation/ desire/passion for the game than most at this point have in their careers. Landon has plainly stated he has one of these things. When someone tells you something about themselves, it is a good idea to listen.

        Like

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