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Donovan ready to return to Europe


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With the 2008 MLS season over, and the Golden Boot Award in his grasp after a 20-goal tally, Landon Donovan is ready to head back to Europe.

This isn’t exactly news since reports have permeated all year linking Donovan to a likely winter departure overseas. Well, Donovan re-stated his desire to go abroad and it is sounding more and more like Donovan is ready to do what it takes to have his wish granted.

Should the 26-year-old striker/midfielder leave? Absolutely. He has already shown over and over that he can dominate in MLS, and the challenge of playing and succeeding in Europe has to be motivating him now, especially given the number of Americans who have moved overseas in recent years. Donovan doesn’t really have anything left to prove in MLS, but has everything to prove playing in a top European league.

What do you think of Donovan’s desire to go abroad now? Glad to see him talking about a new challenge? Worried about the state of the Los Angeles Galaxy without him? Excited about what such a move could mean to his national team success?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Ryan to another Ryan-

    I really like the way you think, partly because Ajax is my All-Time favortite club, and also because I’d love to see LD there. BUT, I just don’t see Ajax trying to negotiate with the MLS (who def. have an inflated opinion of him because he is one of the most recognizable players in the league) correct me if Im wrong but Ajax usually is looking for players like Altidore (under 20) and looking to sell them once they make it big. Ibra, Wes Snider… NOW TO MIKE

    I understand your point about Ives, being “mean” i the words he selected regarding Becks, but you say Ives makes it sound like he doesn’t care about his team, well…IT SURE SOUNDS LIKE HE DOESN’T. He will be missing the preseason while he is still on loan with AC Milan as well as any off season training camps(not to mention that the risk of injury while on loan is far greater than training during the offseason, and if that were to happen the Galaxy and MLS are stuck with the bill) ALL SO HE HAS A SHOT TO RIDE PINE FOR ENGLAND. That seems selfish to me

  2. LD has as much talent in his left boot than any American-born player in history. Yes, he lacks consistency, crashed and burned in Germany twice, has been treated with baby gloves in MLS, etc…. The reality is, anyone who can’t understand the MLS-Lando relationship clearly doesn’t get the big-picture decision-making of the MLS. I’m in full agreement that if LA sheds Landon, ultimately they’re better off (of course if they plan on putting the goal-scoring responsibilites on the shoulders of Buddle we’re in real trouble).

    I’m a firm believer that Lando can be a huge success in Europe (specifically England) however, the success lies in the team he lands with. The selection process HAS to be well thought out. He HAS to see playing time immediately and he must fit into the system. We’ve all seen the USMNT play him out of position…… not fun.

    Good luck Lando…. I’d love to see you join Timmy at Everton.

  3. So lets list some teams that he might transfer to?

    – England

    * Wigan

    * West Ham

    * Tottenham

    * Fulham

    – Holland

    * Ajax

    * Feyenoord

    * Breda

    * AZ Alkmaar

    * PSV

    – Spain

    * Sevilla

    * Malaga

    * Getafe

    * Espanyol

    * Deportivo La Coruna

    – France

    * Marseille

    * Bourdeaux

    * Toulouse

    * PSG

    * Rennes

    – Germany

    * Hertha Berlin

    * Koln

    * Werder Bremen

    * Hanover 96

    – Italy

    * Lazio

    * Udinese

    Of these options, what do you think?

  4. Just because he wants to go to Europe, the league and the Galaxy should let him? MLS is supposed to be getting better, how is letting the best player in the league go to Europe making MLS better? The Galaxy and MLS are idiots if they let Donovan go.

  5. Look, Landon is our (US) guy. I was always bummed he did not make his mark on the world stage, as he is our single best player – still. When he is on he has pace, passing, and a quality freekick.

    Playing around lesser players has not brought him to his potential.

    If we could turn back the clock I would want him in the Arsenal Academy learning the passing-pace-movement beautiful game. Maybe Landon should see if he can train with Arsenal over the off-season! Though I suppose no invite is in the offing.

    Still, if Landon can learn to be integral to more sophisticated futbol, then his best is still ahead of him. Lost years can never be recovered, but old dogs CAN learn new tricks… not that Landon is old, far from it.

    Even if his physical peak is not ahead of him, playing on a more sophisticated team can bring about better play, accomplishments, and results. If soccer is music, he ought to be in an avant garde jazz band where his chops will be part of something complex and beautiful, something far beyond MLS play.

  6. I’ll believe it once he is already signed by a team. Donovan stating that he wants to go to Europe is like George Lucas saying that he wants to make smaller and more intimate films.

  7. I would love Donovan at Celtic. With Nakamura wanting to leave and the injuries to some of their forwards, he could step in and make an impact right away. Not to mention European competition every year. Yeah, I think the green and white would look good on him…

    After that, I think people are right that he would do well in an attacking league like Holland, if he can find the right team.

    Either way, good look Landon!

  8. this is great news for the usmnt. LD has improved mentally, physically and technically and deserves a second go over the pond. that being said i like his chances in mid table EPL like the hammers or even everton. i think bayen munchen has a ton of attackers. she should say no to the dutch – hell, even the dutch say no to the dutch. what about celtic? isnt nakamura about to head back to japan?

  9. I’m sure not a lot of people are coming back to read the conversation on this post, but I think there are a lot of people who are underestimating Donovan’s talent level. The comparison with Shaun Wright-Phillips is spot on, because I see Landon as someone who would generally be right on the cusp of the English national team. That being the case, he’s a certain starter for all but 7 or 8 premier league squads and all but 5 or 6 la liga squads. Those who say he should go to Holland are underestimating his skills.

  10. Ives,

    First, I’d like to thank you for responding to my post, I really appreciate it.

    Indeed, Ives I agree with you about Donovan contributing to the league and allowing players to leave, especially when they have given so much. Also I agree that the AC Milan loan poses many problems. Also I understand why you think there are different circumstances for the two players, if I agree is a different story.

    However, Ives you’re a great writer, but your rhetoric was way too strong.

    “Doesn’t he care”, unaware”, “he can’t understand”, “blinded by his diminishing role”, and “traveling circus.” You say that the Galaxy has the “reputation as a circus rather than a respected club.” You question if the Beckham-MLS marriage is still beneficial and that the Beckham Effect has done all that it is going to do for MLS, and, more important, for the Galaxy.

    You are not treating Beckham fairly. You are speaking about him as though he is selfish and doesn’t care about the team. You also treat him as an object, “the Beckham Effect/Experiment.” And you are disrespecting the club.

    Ives you may not agree with me, but all I’m saying is I think you are coming down way too hard on a player. I love your website, I check it daily, because it’s great in every way. But I think your website is so strong, because you are honest and fair. I don’t see this often.

    I think the Galaxy are a great club. They have the silverware to prove it. But right now they have a lot of work to do and I think they are trying. They made the right moves at the top, chopping Lalas and grabbing Bruce. They brought in Lewis and they’ve previously acted desperately to bring good players to play along side Beckham. The club took on an unbelievable challenge to try and make the solid league grow a little faster, and make themselves some cash. Beckham agreed to come across the pond for a huge check, but also with good intentions. The MLS is not like the best European leagues yet, one day it will be great though. Beckham still can play at a high level in Europe, Madrid wanted him to stay. But he’s come here and always given 100%. He’s really been great for the league, club, and teammates.

    I just know Beckham loves representing his country. He’s been through a lot. He hasn’t said or done anything about not fulfilling his contract. The game is not the same here, so he may judge himself as still bring a good player when he can contribute to the national team. With the last two coaches and all the naysayers, Beckham has had to do a lot to get a spot on the England squad. This is why I understand the Milan loan.

    Also the galaxy have a really young team, and I think that’s what the club needs to focus on. I quickly calculated the average age to be 25.2 and average MLS experience 2.4. The people around Beckham really need to worry about themselves. They need to raise the level of their game. Beckham can adapt as he has shown throughout his career.

    I just feel that people overhype and create unrealistic expectations in sports. But I support analyzing with honesty and integrity, that’s why I read your stuff.

    Bottom line, it’s your website, so write what and in whichever way you want. I just thank you for listening to my argument.

  11. I’d like to see Landon in Spain – smaller, quicker. I’d love to see what he could really do with a top flight midfield delivering to him. I think he would really grow. I don’t think he would do well in the physical EPL and I just don’t get the Germany thing – 3 stirkes and you are out? Even with Klingsman. Landon disappeared in the last world cup with the much higher level of competition, speed and size. MLS and Concacaf won’t make him the player we need in 2010.

  12. I absolutely hate the little weasel but will grudgingly admit he’s good enough to be a good mid-level EPL player; he plays very much with the same kind of speed and purpose as Dean Ashton but has far less power.

    Realistically, he’d do better in a run-and-gun style league like the EPL than in la liga, where his technical ability will be seen as mediocre at best.

    If he wants to STAR in Europe? That’s unlikely to happen. He’s not good enough to make the top four in any of the major nations.

    I mean, come on: roque santa cruz is 20X the threat Landon Donavan is, and he’s starting at Blackburn Rovers. People often forget that in terms of pure talent, MLS isn’t a top 15 league.

    He could make a name for himself as a local hero in the Coca Cola Championship or the Turkish League, Sweden, Norway, maybe …MAYBE… Holland. But that’s about it.

  13. “But if he hated the lifestyle in Leverkusen so much, why would Munich be all that different. Weather, cuisine, etc. are still gonna suck.”

    It’s like comparing Detroit to New York, sort of. Leverkusen’s more industrial, where Munich is pretty cosmopolitan. The traditional German diet is not just cold cuts and sausages. Although I like that stuff, I can see Landy yearning for CPK and Chipotle. He won’t get any of that, or sun during the winter, but Munich is beautiful. And heck, you’re a short trip from the Mediterranean.

    He could do worse ie: Scandinavia. Winter there? OUCH.

  14. Obviously the guy has talent and this is without a doubt the best time to see him go.

    The EPL/England in general is not hte place for him. That being said i dont think he will excel to peoples expectations, he may get only 8-10 goals a season which is still pretty respectable but i think that playing up against a way better set of defenders (that is a sweeping statement but on the whole true), he will have problems.

  15. I don’t know about this. Some thoughts that come to mind are:

    Will he be used as a striker? I hope for his sake that he is not. He’s not a striker and you’re certainly not allowed to miss as many chances as he misses, at a high level.

    I hope he finds the right team and the right coach. There definitely seems to be a bias against Americans in a lot of places. There are a lot of coaches who would like nothing better than to keep Donovan on the bench just to put Americans in their place. Friedel, McBride, and some other American players have shown that they know this and seemed to move based on coaches rather than teams.

    Another concern would be Donovan’s consistency. I don’t know if it’s just MLS, but he seems to play like a bit of a prima donna sometimes. You never know whether he’s going to show or not. He won’t be allowed to vanish for games at a time at a top level.

    Unless he makes some changes from how he has played here, he WILL be sitting on the bench. Unless he goes to a lesser team, but I don’t know why he would want to do that.

  16. When people comment on his speed being OK for the EPL but not his size, it made me think of Shawn Wright Phillips. I think Donovan is better than SWP, and SWP plays all the time, sometimes some English national team callups (which I could never understand) – same speed, but with better field vision and better at taking his chances. Man City wouldn’t be such a bad place to be for the next couple of years.

    More than anything, I think he would be a good value buy – unlikely to be a superstar, but good bang for your buck.

  17. I forget how young Landon was at his previous attempts overseas – I think he is now better prepared mentally and with a season like he had- that is a booster for his ego and his self confidence. Best of luck to Landon- make us proud!

  18. Yeah, what about Donovan’s hot wife?

    Isn’t she an actress on a sitcom or somthing? How is she going to take this?

    If he was european or south american, I’m sure the decision would be easy. Soccer is king. I’m not sure about an american family’s personal preferences. I think Hollywood trumps soccer.

  19. Are Carlos and Mike the same person? The posts sure read like they were written by the same guy…?

    Regardless, Donovon wants to transfer as have countless players int he past. he will be sold, LA will get money and a chance to buy some players that they sorely need.

    Beckham, instead of resting and recharging for the next season, will globe trot, play in Italy, and THEN come back for a full season? I think Beckham’s legs gave out on him for awhile this year, without his “Vacation job”. His performance for LA will be diminished as a result.

    Surely you can see that difference?

  20. If LD’s contract is up after 2009, and assuming he really wants a move, I think you’ll see MLS try to hold some desperate clubs over the barrel in January, then when there are no takers, sell him for a more reasonable fee in the summer.

    I think he’s an annoying little guy, but he’s also clearly good enough to leave MLS, and actually manning up and taking his lumps in Europe would go a long way towards shedding the “Landycakes” reputation.

  21. paul: no, he could go train with a team overseas, but at MLS’ risk entirely. you can’t join a roster until the transfer window, since he is under contract.

  22. Donovan is also 26 and has yet to prove himself on a global stage. he’s got 5-6 years of good play ahead of him if things work out. Becks is 33, on the downward slope of a world class career. he has nothing left to prove and can’t really improve.

  23. It’s about time Bianca got around to dusting off that old box back in the closet, opening it up, getting them out, and lending them back to Landon to put back between his legs again.

  24. I have a hard time believing that there is a club in Europe that values him as much as MLS does. I’m sure there are teams that would be very interested, just not at MLS’s price.

  25. Ives,

    I am in agreement with Mike Kurowski, your positions on Donovan & Beckham are wildy inconsistent. The unhappiness towards Beckham seems to be rooted in that he somehow he is not fully committed or lacking loyalty to the Galaxy and the MLS by wanting to play on loan with another team, keeping his diminishing bench role on his National team, etc. Which is all well and good, but in my opinion, the situation is worse with Donovan.

    With Donovan, you’re talking about a player that the MLS has constantly bent the rules for whether it was his prolonged stay with San Jose (what was that, like a 3 year loan?) to forcing the Galaxy to trade Carlos Ruiz so Donovan could play in LA after he bombed out at Bayern Leverkusen. And now he wants to leave again, to me, that’s totally lacking in loyalty and commitment to the Galaxy and MLS. Having said all that, it is still Donovan’s prerogative if he wants to stay or go. If he wants to go to Europe again, good luck to him and we wish him well. But your positions on Beckham & Donovan are simply too inconistent to hold any validity.

  26. This could be really good, especially for the Galaxy. They’d still be pretty loaded with offensive talent. Unload LD’s salary and pick up a couple of decent defenders and they might actually make it to the playoffs.

  27. Knowing LandyCakes’ history like I do, I’ll believe he really wants to go to Europe when I see it. And if he does go, Ives can we start an over/under pool on how many days until he whines about playing time and wanting to come back to MLS?

  28. I’m glad to see him go for two reasons.

    I’d like to see him prove his many critics wrong and I think the Galaxy has become too dependent on him which is dangerous given the league’s policy towards international dates. This could force the organization to pursue a more team oriented approach that isn’t so reliant on Donovan being available.


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