Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is Toffee on Landon Donovan's
Menu as He May Be Headed to Everton

Landon Donovan could be suited up for Everton on Jan. 9 against Arsenal if goes according to various reports today. America's best player landing in the Premier League, granted it will be on team perilously close to relegation.

If this were last December, I'd say awesome.

This December, eh, not so much.

Hey, I'm not the biggest Donovan fan, but he's turned me around this year. His performance with the U.S. men's national team at the Confederations Cup and during World Cup qualifying has been leaps and bounds ahead of past performances. He's led by example. He stood up to David Beckham, split with his wife, reclaimed the Galaxy as his own and was within a poorly taken pair of PKs from winning another MLS championship.

The guy is for real--right now. And that's why I don't want him in the Premier League. I don't want him tired for South Africa. I don't want him injured for South Africa. I don't want him to go. There, I said it.

Say what you will about Donovan, but this will be his third World Cup. He's been there for the lows of 2006, the almost-made-the-World Cup-semifinals of 2002, the emotional breakthrough of last summer's Confederations Cup. He's not going to be flustered by the obnoxious horns of South Africa's football stadia. The USMNT is going to need him, especially if there's no Charlie Davies or Oguchi Onyewu.

These are selfish rants because the U.S. finally has a favorable draw in the World Cup. England is no pushover and neither is Slovenia. But I still say there's not excuse for them not to get out of the group stage with 6 points. It's supposed to be difficult. It's supposed to be tense. And you're supposed to be there with your best players.

And that's where I want Donovan, not in Liverpool with Everton.

From Donovan's point of view, he's 27 and after two go-rounds in Germany that failed, this has to be a welcome shot at another gig on football's biggest stage. Everton manager David Moyes reportedly likes Donovan and is pushing the club to finalize the deal.

Everton is 15th in the Premiership and miserably out of the title chase. It's racked with injuries and some pundits are calling the Donovan signing a desperate act. It is moving on to the knockout stages of the Europa League, finishing second to Benfica in its group. Everton has two fights on its hands--avoid relegation, and keep going in Europe. It's likely Everton will eventually be drawn against one of the eight outcasts from the Champions League (Juventus? Liverpool?) and the glare on Donovan will be greater.

Donovan's MLS season ended a few weeks ago with the loss to Real Salt Lake. It's been a grind with World Cup qualifying and every player needs a proper offseason to rest. It doesn't look like Donovan will get that if he goes to Everton.

Everything in life is about timing, and from a selfish point of view, the timing of this one sucks.

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Nick said...

I do agree with the danger of Landon wearing himself out or injuring himself this close to a WC that we desperatley need to produce in might be a bit ....dumb.

But he has absolutley got to take this shot. He will get to play, and he will get to play with quality (maybe not top class, but qual nonetheless) players on a side that NEEDS someone who can chase, add pressure, make smart passes and create plays.

Jeffro said...

Just remember that all the greatest players in the world are playing right now, Donovan should be too! I think he has proved himself here and i think he wants to push himself. I hope it works out. Maybe they can do a loan deal so after the EPL season is over he can come back and play with Becks lol