Landon Donovan raised his international stock with a spirited performance for the USA national team at the recently concluded World Cup. That doesn't mean he'll be shipping off to the Premier League or Serie A. On Thursday, Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner Don Garber emphasized that the United States' top professional league wouldn't be accepting transfer offers for Donovan. Garber said that he'd be receptive to loan offers during the MLS off-season, but that his league plans to build around Donovan's higher profile in his native country.
Donovan has played in Europe on loan before with mixed results. He struggled during stints with Bundesliga sides Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, but was impressive during a 10 week loan to Everton of the English Premier League earlier this year. Donovan scored two goals in 13 matches with Everton and was instrumental in a couple of their best results of the season-wins over Chelsea and Manchester United and a draw with Arsenal.
After scoring three goals for the USA in World Cup play, Donovan has become an even more attractive target for clubs in Europe but MLS commissioner Garber said he's too valuable of an asset for the league to lose:
"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."
"Landon is in my view the greatest player of our generation and an incredibly valuable part of our history but also of our future. He proved in England last year on loan and he proved in South Africa that he's a world-class player and he's also proved that he loves our league and really has accepted the mantle of really being one of the leaders of the sport. It is my hope and my expectation that we have him for the rest of his career because I think the contributions that he makes are invaluable to our future success."
Donovan certainly left open the possibility of a move to Europe with this comment after the World Cup:
"Right now, 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."
The notion of a Donovan move to England became something of a hot topic last week when Everton boss Phil Neville commented that he'd spoken to him about a return:
"I've spoken to Landon and I know for a fact that he wants to come back here."
For the time being, however, Donovan will continue with the MLS' top team, the LA Galaxy. Donovan agreed in December to a four year deal with a base salary of $2.05 million per season. His agent, Richard Motzkin, had no comment on Garber's statements.
Ross Everett is a widely published freelance writer and respected authority on football betting
. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory
sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.