Thursday, December 10, 2009

Well... we know it's not just a rumour

Everton says, yes, they are trying to secure a three-month loan for L.A. star Landon Donovan.

A couple of quick questions: why in the hell is MLS still playing this leash game with Donovan... and why the hell is Donovan apparently going along with it again?

Good grief, has anyone involved at the American end bothered to notice that this is not a good situation (including, perhaps, for the USMNT, who kinda have this thing coming up)?

It's like they all want him to fail in Europe. I'm too busy to expand on this now, but if it gets done, you can probably expect a sandblast.

- Greg Seltzer


Mike said...

He has signed

Greg Seltzer said...

Probably, yeah.

Mike said...

Do you think if he impresses they will sign him full time? Also, where do you think they will be playing him at?

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - Perhaps, but they are cash-shy at the moment. A sale would probably need to be made.

2 - In Arteta's spot. Plugs right in. From a team standpoint, this is a good fit. I just think it's sick to keep dangling the guy like this. Either hold on to him or let him go. This set-up is whack, especially seven months before a World Cup.

Mike said...

Yeah, I wish they would let him go. I just hope he starts off very good in order to get him more games when he is over there. Plus, I don't want to hear all the Landon bashers if the loan does not turn out successful and who knows what that would do to his head if he "fails" again.

AdamTheRed said...

MLS is brainless when it comes to transfers....see Sacha Kljestan and Celtic.

Landon has served his time, SET HIM FREE!

Preserve Vintage said...

If he had better long-term Euro prospects, he'd be heading somewhere else. And if the alternative is just getting ready for the MLS season, why is this such a bad idea? MLS has two option years for a player who is very valuable to the league. I don't get why there is an issue here.

KO said...


"see Sacha Kljestan and Celtic."? What about it? This situation isn't even marginally reminiscent of Celtic's bid for Klejstan.

And on a somewhat tangential note, MLS is probably disappointed and Celtic is probably pretty pumped that the deal didn't come to fruition, at least based on Klejstan's year.

Preserve Vintage said...

That's his point - that MLS made a bad decision in holding on to The Virtuoso and is doing the same by seemingly denying Donovan a permanent move.

KO said...

Oh--I see. It was a gripe about MLS transfer policy generally. I must have read too much into that.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Vintage: I'm just a bit busy at the moment, but let me try to mini-list a few quick beefs.

- Not giving Landon a real shot to join a club as opposed to these quick sojourns, which are hardly set up for player success

- Not rewarding Donovan's loyalty when he wants that real shot

- Greatly increased travel/games before World Cup for him

- Constantly displaying an approach that discourages clubs from going after MLS talent

He has long term prospects over there, just probably not with Everton. This works out perfect for them.

The thing is the league asks his "MLS worth", which is higher obviously than his Euro-transfer value. And when you are transferring to a European side, that is the value you base a fee on, not the inflated home value.

Like I said succinctly, they have him on a leash and can just tug him back. I don't like it. I don't like it for Donovan, Galaxy fans, Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley or most anyone over here.

Once, I could overlook. Two winters in a row is shoddy. A second winter in a row before a World Cup? Well, I guess we can just cross our fingers.

Unknown said...

My problem is what is the odds that is works out? Even if he goes there and kills it, he's back to LA in March and all of the hype dies down. So does he have to bank on having a big WC and even if he does is LA/MLS really gonna sell him as they are making a July/Aug playoff push? I feel like we can just fast forward this one year from now and we'll be in the same situation. Sitting around wondering whether LD will make a January 2011 move...

Greg Seltzer said...

Exactly. Long story short, the guy is in his prime and deserves a fair pricetag to go overseas. He's done more than enough for MLS to get a real chance to join a club - not be rent-a-robot.

Jon E. said...

MLS is a business. Donovan is a huge asset. They're going to do everything they can to get money out of him, so they won't let him go for less than they'd get out of keeping him.

It sucks for Donovan, though. And in the long term it probably will hurt MLS. Hell, it might hurt MLS this year during collective bargaining. It's probably not a good idea to have the league's most visible (and highly paid) American player pissed off at MLS when the league is sitting down with the union.

But maybe they figure that he'll be out of the country and more concerned with impressing European managers than with lobbying to raise the cap.

Unknown said...

I agree that this deal really isn't set for Donovan to do well and that the guy deserves better.

But as Jon E said, MLS values him incredibly highly. He's worth more here in the US than in any other part of the world.

But I also think the fact that he signed a 5 year deal with 2 league option years after that demonstrates a lack of foresight on Donovan and/or his agent's part. He signed over the best years of his career to MLS. No way around it.

KO said...

@Jon E--

I agree that MLS is a business. And that should be a good reason to permit Donovan some slack in letting him move to a club overseas. Because in the end, Landon Donovan is a big reason why MLS and US Soccer are what they are today. It's time for MLS to reward one of its most loyal and outstanding performers. From an asset/marketing perspective, it might be a tough pill for the MLS to swallow. That is, short-term, MLS might take a hit.

But long-term, MLS can demonstrate that it will repay loyalty with honesty and goodwill. And that will benefit MLS in the future with other stars.

And oh-by-the-way, I think 2-3 month loans are a recipe for disaster for American soccer players. I can't think of many that jumped right into first teams (maybe with the exception of goalkeepers). The field players need time. And given that time, I think Davies, Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, and even Feilhaber have shown that American soccer players can be big assets to European clubs.

Brian said...

I have no clue about the inner-workings of MLS. But, couldn't Donovan get out if he really pushed the issue? I would think that if he genuinely wanted out, MLS would cave.

Preserve Vintage said...

Greg and others, you have plenty of fine points, and while I disagree with most of MLS's actions regarding transfers, I see their point a little more with this one.

The idea that Donovan has shown some some sort of perceived loyalty to MLS is something I don't quite understand. I'm sure I don't know all the facts, but didn't MLS basically bail him out of his situation at Leverkusen? At that point, if Donovan didn't like this contract, then he shouldn't have agreed to the deal.

And just because the situation early this calendar year was more or less a failure doesn't mean it was MLS's fault, and it doesn't mean that Everton will be.

Greg, I know you've talked about a fair transfer price before; what do you think it currently is?

Denny said...

I think you guys are confusing Donovan's loyalty to MLS with him just being nice. He's not exactly the kind of guy to go out there and put it all on the line and say he wants to leave. I don't know if it's loyalty or he's more of a wuss.

Either way, how much of a say does he have in the matter anyways? It's not really up to him because there's so much else on the line.