Two weeks ago, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced that Landon Donovan would not be permitted to transfer from the Los Angeles Galaxy, citing Donovan’s importance to promoting soccer domestically as the primary reason. In Garber’s words:
“He’s become a real soccer hero. MLS needs soccer heroes, and we have a great American soccer hero playing for us in LA, holding the torch for the sport in our country, and that’s very important. I don’t believe that it’s something we can do without.”
Despite an unfavorable reaction from writers–a sea of cries arguing the Donovan could only improve by playing abroad (which is a fair argument)–Donovan appeared to have no issues the commissioner’s statement and insisted that he was happy to be in the United States:
“I want to be in America. If there’s something serious to look at, then I will. I never say never to anything. But for now, I’m very excited to be home.”
Everton captain Phil Neville, however, suggested otherwise–that Landon was putting on a brave face to avoid controversy–and claimed that, “I’ve spoken to Landon and I know for a fact that he wants to come back here.”
It appears that, in the end, Neville was right.
After the MLS All-Stars’ 5-2 thrashing at the hands of (the reserves of) Manchester United–a game in which Donovan played only 17 minutes–Donovan reportedly expressed some interest in rejoining Everton:
“I would love to go back to Everton. I love the people there and I love the fans there. But that said, I love being in America too, so we are going to take everything into account and see where it ends up.”
Despite the claims from Manchester United manager Sir Alexander Ferguson, who said that he has seen considerable improvement in the quality of MLS soccer, it would be safe to presume that the best choice for Donovan’s career–from a purely soccer standpoint–would be to return abroad to Everton.
But, as Donovan said, “There’s still a lot of time left in the transfer window, so we’ll see what moves are made and, if it’s serious, then we’ll treat it seriously.”
Point taken. We’ll let him enjoy being home first before we speculate on his imminent departure.