Doubtlessly swayed by my jeremiad earlier in the week, Landon Donovan decided to commit to the Galaxy. I assume the privilege of playing before adoring fans such as myself was too great to toss aside.
At least, that's how I choose to view his refusal of any loan offers for this winter. I suppose it's possible that some Premiership team will just flat-out make AEG/MLS some sweet, sweet offer - I mean, it's not like the English haven't scouted the guy by now. But for the moment, let's take this quote at face value:
Because it certainly wasn't ghost-written by an agent or publicist. Certainly not one working for the Galaxy.
Is Landon giving up on European glory? That was the conclusion Martin Rogers drew, and it struck me as pretty reasonable.
Then Landon took to Twitter, and did one of three things: (1) got all tactful towards his Everton fans (who, in fairness, have NEVER called him "Landycakes"); (2) laid the groundwork to do this all over again next off-season, where he will be one year older and one year cheaper (still strange for me to think of freaking Everton as being penny-pinching, as if "Everton" is short for "New England Revolution"); or (3) messed with Martin Rogers, just for the hell of it.
Can Landon go back to Europe, at this point?
Well, he doesn't need it for his legacy. World Cup success will do that, and he's had two good World Cups. As Jack Nicholson said in "Mars Attacks," two out of three ain't bad.
Besides, Brian McBride went to Fulham at the advanced age of 31 - Donovan only turns 29 next March. Landon has three years left on his current MLS contract, though, and Brian McBride was the toughest man who ever lived. Walk not on the path of McBride, if you value the nerve endings on your face.
Although how cool would it be if we could say that the Premiership is just a retirement home for MLS stars?
Well, maybe Everton is willing to be patient, and will settle for a 33-year-old Donovan when the time comes. Hey, some people peak at 33. Jesus. Mozart. Lance Armstrong. Barry Bonds. David Koresh.
But let's go back to that World Cup thing for a second. If Donovan plays in the next World Cup, that will be four in a row for him. So far, "Americans who have played in four World Cups" is an exclusive club consisting of nobody. (Keller and Reyna were on four different squads, but neither played in their first World Cup. DaMarcus Beasley is also technically on the verge of a four consecutive World Cup streak. Technically.) Since I don't quite yet see the guy who's going to replace him, that streak probably depends on him keeping healthy and in form.
With that in mind, would Donovan be better off in MLS than the Premiership? That's hard to tell, really. Yes, he earned many minutes for Everton, but duplicating that a couple of years from now is no guarantee. He'll be guaranteed minutes in MLS as much as any mortal can be, which will keep him in game shape.
But, MLS will offer worse travel, probably worse turf as well. Worse defenders, which, well - could be good, could be bad. Worse teammates, so he'll be continually... continuously? I always mix those up...he'll be constantly asked to do more, rather than fill a role and fit into a system. No one on the Galaxy looks likely to challenge him for his spot...but that's sadly true for the Nats as well. You would think MLS refs would protect him, wouldn't you.
From the Galaxy's point of view, with a healthy, rested Donovan ready from day one of training camp, Los Angeles now becomes the favorite for MLS Cup next season. I assume this isn't too controversial a statement. The Galaxy actually have a bigger challenge with Landon. Now that the league knows Donovan will be staying, they must properly market him. The Galaxy's attendances were feeble by their standards this year, and considering the amount of publicity Donovan got, that's pretty inexcusable. AEG, MLS and Nike will have at least a year to rectify that. Otherwise, well, if the league can't get Landon to sell tickets, let Everton do it.
Landon's been doing a fantastic job of making himself available for publicity, but, well, there is such a thing as too much information:
I realize it's a negotiating tactic...at least, I sure hope it is, but...dude.