Monday, June 28, 2010

How Long Does Donovan Stay in the MLS?

Major League Soccer is hoping that their league can capitalize on the buzz provided by the American's performance, and rightfully so. But I'll tell you right now that is unlikely to happen. I don't doubt that a handful of people will be tempted to check out their product because of all the hoopla, but unfortunately many will be disappointing when they do. There were two MLS games on this weekend, I watched both of them, and the quality of play is just vastly different than what you've seen in the World Cup. That's to be expected of course, because the Cup has nothing but the finest players in the world, but I fear the drop-off in quality is too drastic for any casual soccer fan.

I'm sure there will be a spike in viewership of one team in particular though, and that would be the Los Angeles Galaxy as people will be anxious to continue to watch Landon Donovan play. But how long exactly will Donovan stay in this league? Landon has said that he loves playing in LA because it's home and he's comfortable, but the offers are going to start coming in to get this guy to play overseas.

The front runner in the Donovan sweepstakes - if there is going to be such a thing - has to be Everton of the English Premier League. Donovan did join his buddy goalkeeper Tim Howard there earlier this year on loan, but came back to America just in time for the MLS season to begin. Based on what he's said in the past, I don't expect Donovan to go anywhere but Everton if he was to leave.

There is another team though that has already thrown their hat into the ring, and that would be Manchester City also of the EPL. Manchester City has often been over looked by the other team that occupies that town, Manchester United, but in the recent years they have began spending money like crazy as they found themselves under new ownership. They are putting together a pretty decent squad, which includes guys you may have discovered in the World Cup such as Shaun Wright-Phillips (England), Jerome Boateng (Germany), and Carlos Tevez (Argentina). Man City is ready to offer Donovan a $4 million yearly contract, which is twice as much as he makes now.

I'm not sure that Donovan will ultimately accept this deal, as again when it comes down to it I see him playing stateside for awhile yet. He has been very committed to the MLS, although the league would figure to earn about $16 million in transfer fees if Donovan was to sign elsewhere, so that would be one positive to letting him walk. But Donovan is a homebody, and I see him staying on this side of the Atlantic. At least for now.

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