Landon Donovan Loan Everton: Music To Toffee Fans Ears

The news just broke.

Liverpool here I come!

Landon Donovan going on loan to Everton this winter. Precisely what the Toffees need–and frankly probably all they could afford. Everton are not awash in cash. They’re certainly not awash in goals.

The LA Galaxy announced on Thursday that Donovan will venture over to Everton on a two-month loan kicking off on on Jan. 1 2012.

Donovan today: “The opportunity to return to Everton and play for such a well-respected club and a manager that I hold in such high regard was something that was simply too good to pass up.”

Make no mistake here. With the Toffees hurting in the bank account, Donovan won’t be breaking that bank with his compensation here. In short, he wanted the move. This should also put to rest the notion that Donovan was battling an injury during the 2011 MLS season as a reason for his statistical lack of production.

And there, of course, some ancillary benefits for TSG folks and American fans:

5. Salacious rumors are sure to abound with the untimely–and ultimately inaccurate–news during the World Cup that Donovan might have fathered a child on his last trip over there.

4. Sensationalized UK online publications are sure to start identifying Galaxy teammates as potential loan or transfer targets.

3. You can actually watch Everton EPL games now and not cringe…unless Tony hibbert is on the ball of course

2. Fellaini’s afro will be re-introduced into American society.

1. January 11th and March 10th: Foreman vs. Ali. Whoops! Friedel vs. Donovan. Spurs vs. Toffees. Tasty…cakes!


Okay, you asked for it:

33 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/15 at 2:54 PM

    Tottenham vs. Everton 11-Jan. Will he put one past Freidel?


  2. Posted by Luke S on 2011/12/15 at 3:02 PM

    if it’s a 2-month loan then landy won’t be around for the march 10th edition of everton spurs, will he?


  3. Posted by EFG on 2011/12/15 at 3:10 PM

    So we are in agreement that Landon heard Friedel’s comments, said “Oh yeah?”, and made this happen in a matter of days? That’s what I’m choosing to believe anyway…


  4. If Beckham takes off for PSG and Donovan gets tired from pulling 11 months again… I’ll take late LA swoon for 1000, Alex.


  5. God how I love Fellaini’s fro…


  6. Posted by dude on 2011/12/15 at 3:59 PM

    How about putting to bed the rumor that Landon “gave up” on Europe, despite his stint with Bayern Munich and his obvious desire to stay in Europe the last time Everton signed him on?

    As I see it, his stay in MLS was all about Garber looking for a successor to the poster boy title, found none, and held on like grim death.

    All this of course increases my relief that Donovan is back where he belongs, if only for a time.


    • Er, people go through different phases, and Donovan seemingly did want to head back to California after the Leverkusen deal. He actually publicly stated this.

      Donovan also happened to be the one who signed a 4 year extension with the Galaxy.

      So, while Galaxy/MLS may be holding onto him now, Donovan himself made his own choices when it came to MLS.


      • Posted by Union on 2011/12/15 at 6:32 PM



      • Posted by dude on 2011/12/15 at 7:28 PM

        I can’t believe people use Leverkusen as the reason Donovan gave up. Had he stayed in Europe, it would have been a downward descent into journeyman status. We’ve seen it with other young prospects suffering from American hype. After providing a tremendous amount for the league over the years, he tried again. And again. Perhaps I just don’t understand why everyone suddenly wants to chastise him for making a smart move years ago that made him the great player he is today.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/12/15 at 9:06 PM


        “Donovan also happened to be the one who signed a 4 year extension with the Galaxy. ”

        Had he not signed it MLS would not have allowed him to go on loan to Everton the first time. It was something Donovan strongly wanted to do, perhaps to prove Bayern Munich was an aberration. As it turned out, it may well have given him a shot in the arm before what turned out to be a very good World Cup for him.

        The “price” (a strange term when you think about how much money he signed for) he had to pay was signing that extension. Donovan has made his own choices but it’s probably not as free and easy as some seem to think it was/is.

        This debate over Donovan reminds me of Henrik Larsson who spent his best years at Celtic. The SPL was still a pretty good league in the late 90’s not the sinking ship it is today. And Larsson was an unbelievably phenomenal scorer (174 goals in 221 games). Still people wondered if he could make it in the EPL and criticized him for staying with second rate Celtic.

        In his thirties he finally left Celtic, moved to Barcelona, won two league titles and the Champions League. He scored 13 goals in 40 games as more or less a part timer. In 2007 at the age of 35-36 he went on a very famous loan to Man U for 7 games. He had a pretty nifty career for Sweden scoring 37 goals in 106 games.

        Like Donovan I got the impression Henrik didn’t really care about what other people thought of his priorities.

        I’m not what you would call a big Donovan fan and I certainly don’t think he is at Larsson’s level but I see no reason to doubt he would do well with any team in the world, given a fair shot. If Donovan can move to Man U. or someplace like that when he is 31 or so and approximate Larsson’s later accomplishments then maybe every one will STFUP.

        In fact, given Man U’s injuries up front maybe he should have tried to finagle a loan to them rather than a ragged Everton. Maybe Timmy has sensitive information on Donovan.

        Donovan clearly values USMNT first and MLS second. His heart is with the USMNT while MLS plays the bills.

        One would think US fans would welcome such an attitude but the self loathing and the inferiority complex that is also a huge part of the US fan base will never allow them to give Donovan their full support until he gives them what they want, a genuine, full time star outfield player at the highest level (read EPL and the Champions league).

        After all Mexico already is ahead of the US with a potential one in Chicharito.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/16 at 7:37 AM

          But that’s just the point, isn’t it? People want to see Donovan test himself week in week out in a better league. I don’t view his time in Germany as a huge failure, just like I don’t view his time at Everton a huge success. He did well, but is 10 games a great sample size? Moving to a foreign country as a kid is not easy. And he’s not some kid who’s moved from a poverty stricken 3rd world country… he is obviously a good player, but until he walks the walk, I am a little undecided.

          The other point is that many Americans move to Europe because financially, it will more than likely set them up for life. He’s got a bumper contract and living in LA. Not too shabby.


        • I agree that there are a lot of fans who will continue to rag on Donovan until he becomes the poster-boy for everything. But, I think there’s a fair amount of the USMNT fanbase that has finally moved on from self-flagellation and have accepted that Dempsey could indeed be a Champions League player if on a different team, and there are plenty of young up-and-comers who could eventually become this caliber of player. Therefore the reliance on Donovan to be this player has been lessened, and hopefully with this weight off of his shoulders he can continue to follow in Larsson’s footsteps.


          • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/12/16 at 11:22 AM

            This comes closest to my point of view towards the Landon v. Dempsey issue. I think Donovan should be able to do what he wants and play where he wants… of course I want whats best for the USMNT as a fan but Landon doesn’t owe us anything.

            I think that the best current USMNT player is debatable. I have made what I felt was a very compelling argument here before that Dempsey has surpassed Donovan but I can accept that they are even performance wise. I actually would take Howard over the two but comparing a goalie to a field player is hard.

            Regardless of how you fall on that argument the popularity of various US soccer players with everybody but the most hardcore fans is clearly 1) Landon, 2) Howard (you could convince me that Howard is more popular) and 3) there really is no three.

            Just look at sponsorships. Every US Soccer game you get Howard and AllState, Landon and Gatorade, and thats about it. Landon is in this month’s GQ in a watch ad. Now I realize this isn’t Landon’s doing but…

            As a huge Dempsey fan the only US based add I have seen him in is the Modelo ad that is seen more often on the Spanish language channels and looks like it was produced as part of a High School project. Has there ever been a Boca ad? Do casual fans even realize that Dolo was our best player at the WC and the GC?

            I just felt that there was a big gap between Landon’s public precetion relative to his performance compared with everyone else on the team.


          • Posted by Union on 2011/12/16 at 12:03 PM

            We can talk all we want about the id of the American soccer fan, and I’d probably agree with most of what is said. Martin makes a lot of good points. But I think the conversation is more about LD’s id, if I may.

            If one is to take the perspective of the player and put themselves in his shoes, of course it makes sense what Landon did. Who wouldn’t want to have a huge contract to be the star of a league and play in what is essentially your hometown. Donovan is far and away the best American in the MLS, he is frequently touted as such, he plays 7-8 months a year, has acheived everything he possibly can, and has easy access to all USMT camps, plus Jurgen’s office is right down the hall (and I agree, the USMT is his primary focus, which I appreciate). LD’s perspective is probably, “I am helping the MLS grow as a league.” So I get that.

            That being said, I’m not someone who overly empathizes with athletes. Sure, this is a selfish perspective (just like his own), but Landon Donovan was the most talented soccer player to come out of the US in quite some time. If he decided to stick it out over seas and prove himself, much like Dempsey, McBride, and maybe even Holden did, who knows what he could have done for himself and for American soccer. I know there are many issues on both sides of the coin regarding whether or not he should have played abroad for most of his career and what the hurdles were in order for him to do so. I personally think that players have much more control over their destiny than many lead us to believe.


            • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/12/16 at 2:20 PM

              I wonder if there is sort of a Donovan as the favorite/pretty boy and Dempsey as the underdog/blue collar guy that underlies these debates whether we realize it or not.

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/12/16 at 3:21 PM

            GeorgeCross and Nick,

            When it comes to rating pro players I like to keep things simple and follow the money.

            “Americans move to Europe because financially, it will more than likely set them up for life. He’s got a bumper contract and living in LA. Not too shabby.”

            That is probably the most cogent and insightful observation yet on this topic.

            One of the problems with trying to figure out where Donovan sits in the soccer universe is he did not really follow the traditional path, i.e.:

            1. Do well for smaller club and earn a move to a bigger club.

            2. Do well for your country in either the Euros or the World Cup, the real impetus being to earn you a transfer to a big club.

            3. Once at the bigger club in one of the big four leagues ( EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga ) do really well both domestically and in the Champions league .

            4. Earn the big bucks and live the superstar life style. Marry a supermodel. Retire. Become a pundit or a manager. Live happily ever after.

            I have no real interest in his club career; my interest in Donovan is as a US player. As a US player his main flaw is his teammates. However a large number of US fans seem unhealthily obsessed with Donovan’s overall career path. His failure to more or less follow the traditional path has them at sixes and sevens.

            Donovan was a great success at 20 years old in the 2002 World Cup (the only American ever to be named best young player, pretty select company). Shortly thereafter as best as I can tell he became quite well compensated signing a 6 year deal with Leverkusen yet never really played for them. Ironically, it was actually the same thing Adu did except Adu spent most of his long term deal with Benfica bouncing all over Europe on loan while Donovan spent most of his long term deal playing for the Quakes. I remember Landon very publicly telling Freddy he had to get playing time, if he wanted an international future.

            It seems to me Donovan, who clearly values stability, did better for himself than Freddy. He has been to three World Cups, has five goals and excelled in two of them. I think he views the World Cup as the ultimate so from his point of view he’s had a pretty good career, so-so club career regardless, and it’s not over yet. I’m sure Ryan Giggs, who has never had the chance to play in a World Cup but has had arguably one the best club careers of anyone, anywhere, ever, is similarly at peace with his career.

            Donovan is with the Galaxy, makes about as much money as any player could reasonably hope to and is certainly placed to live that superstar lifestyle if he wanted to. He could even date Kim Kardashian. The Galaxy and LA being what they are, he is also probably very well connected and well placed for life after his playing days are done.

            Duece, who went the more traditional path, is nowhere near the media event Donovan is and from that standpoint may not have the options once the playing days are over that Donovan has and will have.

            Not that we need to take up a collection for Clint. He’s doing just fine and I’m sure will also live happily ever after.

            But when it comes to Donovan, US fans never will. That tells you a lot more about them than it does about Donovan.

            Unfortunately for the next saviour of US soccer I think Nick is probably right on target.


  7. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/12/15 at 4:38 PM

    Do we get an Everton versus Fulham game? I would love to see Landon and Duece go head to head. With Dempsey playing LMF and Donovan playing RMF (assuming he plays there again) we could get some time where they are covering/going at each other.

    PS – I realize that the Toffee’s RB would be the main person covering Dempsey and we would see JA Rise on Donovan in the traditional defending sense.


    • Almost certainly not. Everton v Fulham is April 28th, at which point Donovan should be back with Galaxy.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/15 at 4:55 PM

      John Arne Riise couldn’t defend a tree stump against dog piss. Forked!

      (will his younger brother ever make good?)


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/12/15 at 6:24 PM

        He defends by going forward. He overlaps with Dempsey well but you are right though he is a poor defender.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/12/15 at 9:12 PM

        Ever try to get your dog to stop peeing on a tree stump?

        If you don’t have good anticipation and good technique it’s not that easy.


  8. Posted by Dylan on 2011/12/15 at 5:19 PM

    I am suddenly very interested in Everton games. While he be available for this weekend with Norwich?


  9. Posted by Union on 2011/12/15 at 6:36 PM

    Happy to see he’s going back to Europe, but lets be honest, a 2 month loan spell is pretty weak. That’s, what, 7-8 games (unless they put him on the field right away, which is doubtful)?

    Not trying to ruin the good vibes, but I’d like to see Landon do a full season in Europe (as a frequent starter) before I give him credit for putting his money where his (or Friedel’s) mouth is.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/15 at 7:11 PM

      Agreed on Friedel comment. Probably gets about 10 games. Remember, last time he started away at Arsenal in the snow after being there less than 8 days.


  10. Posted by Kay20 on 2011/12/15 at 11:43 PM

    Matt – question – how are you making that conclusion about LD not having an injury in 2011?

    On Bruce Arena makes direct reference to this – saying that Landon was working through injuries in the tail end of the year and only just got his legs back.

    A few posters elsewhere were also saying he was playing injured for a good stretch – leading to his ultimate quad injury and time off. (don’t know if they are anywhere near accurate).

    Couldn’t he have been injured and playing through it June-September, got rest in October, then finally came into form in November leading to his loan?

    As a Galaxy fan I just watched him in their recent friendlies, and I gotta tell you, from the MLS Cup Final on, he looked like a new man. And that new man being the “old LD.” Looked fresh – and ironically, played his best as a withdrawn forward.

    Just curious, not blaming or anything.


  11. […] The Shin Guardian has a few quick hits at it. […]


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