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Emptying the Notebook: On Donovan, Altidore, Conde and Schelotto


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Good afternoon folks and welcome to the first installment of Emptying the Notebook. I plan on making this a weekly segment where I touch on all the topics and stories I wasn’t able to get to during the week. As you know, each week flies by as stories surface and pass through the news cycle. Sometimes there are stories that I just don’t get to.

With that in mind, here are some items from the SBI Notebook:

Donovan and Bayern Munich

As you might have heard earlier this week from the Washington Post, Bayern Munich had discussions with Major League Soccer about Landon Donovan. Here is what I have been told. Apparently Juergen Klinsmann was very interested in adding Donovan, but the Bayern board of directors wasn’t keen on buying a player who is perceived to have twice washed out of the Bundesliga. This led to a discussion between Bayern and Los Angeles about a loan deal with an option to buy. Neither the Galaxy or MLS was interested in that.

What next? Bayern is expected to make a transfer offer this winter. As for Donovan? He was ready to make the move and is prepared to join Bayern Munich if a deal can be struck this winter.

No Champions League for Altidore (yet)

You probably heard about the hat-trick Jozy Altidore scored for Villarreal (you didn’t hear about it here because hat-tricks against semi-pro teams didn’t make the cut for news this week). Well, as much attention as that hat-trick received, what went relatively ignored is the fact that Altidore did not make Villarreal’s Champions League roster.

Should you be surprised? Not really. Some new tough guidelines from UEFA requiring teams to have at least eight home-grown players on the roster may have led to the omission, though his inexperience is probably a bigger reason why he wasn’t selected.

So if you were all excited for the Man Utd-Villarreal Champions League clash next week, don’t expect Altidore to come on and deliver a Goal: The Movie moment. That moment will have to wait.

Conde: Let me go after this year

The Chicago Fire boasts the stingiest defense in MLS this year and one of the key figures in that status is Colombian Wilman Conde. His unhappiness in Chicago was well-documented earlier in the season but he has stayed quiet and played the role of good soldier well.

Does that mean he is happy? Not exactly.

Conde told SBI last weekend that he intends to honor his contract this season but that he is hoping Fire coach Denis Hamlett will let him leave this winter, either to Mexico or to Europe. Conde is in the second-year of a three-year deal and is desperate to make a move abroad.

"I want to play in a bigger league and like any player I want to keep moving forward," Conde said. "I am being a good professional and honoring my contract but I am hoping that the (Fire) lets me leave after this year.

"I have spoken to (Fire coach Denis Hamlett) and I know he is a man of his word so I am hoping that will happen."

Conde signed with Chicago from Colombian club Millonarios in the summer of 2007, and links the reports of his unhappiness in Chicago to his anger over feeling that he was lied to with regard to his contract.

"There were certain promises made to me when I came here that were not kept by the former president," Conde said, referring to former Fire team president John Guppy. "He lied to me. That’s what happened and that is why I was very unhappy at the beginning of the year. I wasn’t happy with my contract situation, and it’s something I am hoping will be resolved after this season."

And for those of you asking, yes, Conde would leave via transfer, not via a release.

Schelotto plans on coming back in 2009

Columbus Crew playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto is enjoying an MVP season and has no plans on making it his last season in MLS.

Schelotto spoke with SBI on Wednesday and he stated very clearly that he wants to be back in Columbus in 2009.

"The league has the option on the contract, but if it is up to me, I will be back here," Schelotto said. "I am happy here and comfortable here. This is a good team and a young team and I will stay if the team will have me."

Schelotto is likely to miss the Crew’s game against Toronto on Saturday with a hamstring strain.


  1. “As for Conde’s comments, he wants to leave after the year. He’s playing out his contract and wants out after this year. Not really sure what’s wrong with him being honest about his future. At least he’s no longer asking to be dealt to another MLS team.” -Ives

    How come this is only acceptable in soccer though? Even Manny couldn’t get away with it forever.

  2. I’m hopeful Cooper gets some time, but hopefully E.J. will at least get some more p.t. with Cardiff City. They’ve played 3 since his transfer and he’s started one (a Carling Cup match) and subbed in a Championship match. He sat out saturday’s match.

  3. I know it’s a little late to add to this issue, but i think Donovan going to Bayern is a very bad move for him. I like Donovan at Leverkusen, and i think if he had stuck it out more he would have gotten more of a chance. That Champs league game that he played against my team Liverpool is what did him in. He had the worst game i had ever seen him play. And when teams lose, someone has to be blamed. But on the Bayern issue, he doesn’t stand a chance. Landon in 2002 is much better than version 2008. Even the kid Toni Kroos is a better playmaker than Landon. Just because klinsman likes him doesn’t mean he is a fit. Who is he going to displace? Ribery? Podolski? Schweinsteiger? Altintop? he doesn’t even have the technical skills of Sosa. And Sosa can’t even get a game at Bayern. Uli Hoeness and the top dogs are not going to pay for a player who is going to live in the shadows of their fringe players, and if they do, they must really like Klinsman.

  4. Nicole,

    If Lando really DID change his thinking, as you insist he has (are you his therapist? how do YOU know), he would have jumped at the transfer window to any club in a top four league that would have him. Instead, he holds out for a perfect situation. This indicates to me that nothing has changed. He simply does not have that fire to work his way through tough times at a mid-table club and prove himself all over. He’s much more comfortable here with his 25 games per year and cushy league where he’s worshipped. I can’t completely blame him, but that is not the stuff that superstars are made of. Superstars are made of special stuff.

  5. Donovan could do pretty well in Germany this time around if he’s focused. He was a teenager and as he progressed he got better but not good enough for Munich. Either way MLS is so F-ed up they wont let donovan go….

  6. All the Donovan hate ought to get written up in a clinical psychology journal, especially regarding the bizarre distortion of reality. As Tony in Quakeland has pointed out in an earlier post, Donovan actually played pretty well over there, save the one awful game in the CL (where the rest of the side was bad, too). At one point I saw a collection of Kicker ratings for Donovan–all but that CL match were at least average or better, with a couple very good ratings. Surely, someone in the know can dig these up again to make the point. Of course, facts won’t matter to the haters.

  7. Gotta wonder…this is a little in left field but who knows…

    Could Klinsmann just be trying to help Landon’s cause here for a big transfer? Everyone knew there was no way Joseph Ngwenya was going to sign for Bayern on trial this summer, but I think it was more of a charity case to get teams to look at him.

    Donovan doesn’t need the charity so much, but you have to think that if other teams see that Bayern is coveting a guy, they’re going to be interested too.

    Also, great stuff with Schelotto. I always perceived him as unhappy in Columbus, so to hear that he enjoys his role is big for the team and the league.

  8. As a former LD detractor, I have to say that the boy has toughened up…a lot. Both in his attitude but more importantly, in his play. I actually believe that the signing and the work-ethic of Beckham (and the competition for adoration) has put a drive into LD that has improved him. I don’t know if he’d ever see the field for Bayern at striker but there’s nothing saying he can’t play in a midfield role.

    It will be interesting to follow, for sure.

  9. Schelotto is great for the league. As much as Im glad Cuah is with the Fire, I think Schelotto is more active. Plus I dont think Schelotto is a DP.

    Assuming Conde goes to Mexico, Ives how long will it be before we see him in a Mexi uniform with all their other naturilzed players?

    (insert Christain crying here)

  10. Ha! Beat me to it Ossington. I was about to say I could of sworn I watched Madrid beat the stuffing out of Leverkusen. As for Landycakes, this is much ado about nothing. He’s not going anywhere, and if he did, he would be back inside of 18 months.

  11. the donovan thing makes no sense. he’s not podolski obviously and i dont know how he’d break in ahead of a guy like that like all the other posters have said. doesn’t really make any sense at all.

  12. Tim –

    Not to be a buzzkill (or a dick) but Leverkusen had some of the best squads in the bundesliga throughout the years that Donovan was there placing in top 3 something like 3 out of 5 years (correct me if im wrong bundesheads) playing with the likes of Berbatov, Rolfes, Schneider, Ballack, Ze Roberto, Lucio, Diego Placente, Jens Nowotny and winning the championsleague in 2002. That being said he was young and may not have blossomed so it is still possible and as someone else said, Klinsi knows exactly what hes doing, so anything is possible…

  13. Ives (or anybody who knows): Why could Sunderland order Dwight Yorke back instead of playing for T&T? Aren’t clubs required to release players on FIFA-designated dates?

  14. LD will be fine. The fact that he’s willing to go back to a league where he is perceived as failing twice says a lot about him as a person. We need more players that are up to that kind of a challenge. It’s almost like starting 2 businesses that fail and then starting up another one – not everyone has the guts to do that.

  15. Haig,

    Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good blog!

    I remember Landon from his very 1st game with the Nats with his dyed blond hair. I’ve always been a fan and hope he goes to Europe and does well.

    But German soil is his Kryptonite. Weather it be the Bundesliga or the World Cup or family problems.

  16. Tim,

    I agree with you, but Bayern management has been well known as stingy over the years, last summer aside. This summer, for example, Borowski on a free was our “big buy”. That’s it. They tried to buy Gomez for over 20 mil Euros, but Stuttgart refused it. He has already said he wants to join Bayern, which takes up the third striker spot. Podolski’s a headcase and wishes to go back to Koln, Toni and Klose are our targets, Ribery is our LOM, Schweinsteiger our ROM, and Kroos is being groomed for the CAM spot next season.

    Maybe Landon plays the fourth striker, which we do need, but I just can’t see where he would fit into the current lineup. Heck, I might even take Schweinsteiger on left while Riberys out, but then I’d take Altintop on the right for his added defense.

    I can’t see Landon going somewheres that he won’t play. I can’t see Ulli spending any real money for a player who won’t play or would have to be loaned out. They would rather promote from within. I would LOVE for Landon to make this move, but I think he has too many cards stacked against him for this one.

  17. Granted that whole episode with his wife’s brother nearly being killed while in Germany is nearly enough to make anyone want to pack up and move back home


    What happened??

    by -J

    J, to answer your question. When LD was at Leverkusen his future brother in law was injured and nearly killed in croatia. LD flew the family out, paid all medical expenses and travel back to Cali.


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