Donovan & Hejduk

Discussion in 'Yanks Abroad' started by beineke, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. olafgb

    olafgb New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Germany
    You don't want to tell me that Donovan is on Owen's level?!? We had this discussion several times and I think it's rather a misbelief of LD to think he'd get playing time in a top league before becoming 20. Of course LD developed best when returning to MLS, no doubt about that and it's also being now when he for the first time has a real chance to see playing time in Bundesliga.

    What is unsupported speculation in my assumption? As ex-lawyer you'll know that a contract needs offer and acceptance (though different in common law) and in most cases this is only working with transfer fees. Might be that last time Bayer let him go for free, but now they'd like to have him back and you can't expect a free loan anymore - or in other terms: MLS might make the offer to loan him for free, but I don't see Bayer's acceptance.

    There are many ways to keep a player quiet. I don't see why you would want to give all power to the player. That's very uncommon business in Germany. Soccer players often got a doubtful reputation in the public, especially if they aren't loyal to their employers.

    I am arguing that (1) LD has signed a contract and according to today's situation he's employer of Bayer Leverkusen from November 1st on. I also say that LD was expecting too much back then. Today he'd get the chance to play in the first team. (2) I argue that he isn't speaking the truth - at least LD's truth looked different in Rostock and suddenly changed before and extremely after the WC. For me it's obvious that he doesn't want to lose his current status in the US and by all means tries to stay - including talking negative about BL though he knows that he's telling wrong or at least exaggerated statements.

    And after all he's employee of Bayer Leverkusen. Who of you is allowed to talk negative about his employee in the public? German soccer clubs generally handle it that any player can come and complain at the GM or the coach - but if he's using the media, then he'll get a fine. Ask Pablo Thiam of Bayern Munich, ask Fredi Bobic of Borussia Dortmund - both were fined 10K these days for criticizing coach/officials of the club.

    Btw, this exactly was topic in today's kicker edition; interview with Bayern coach Otmar Hitzfeld:
    Q: The fines were raised as the case Pablo Thiam proves. He had to pay 10K for a critical interview in which he complained about you.
    H: That's true.
    Q: Is it right that players from now on have to get a permission before an interview gets printed?
    H: It is better to control if players are giving interviews to papers who want to make big headlines. Otherwise it only causes trouble in the club.
    Q: What does it mean precisely?
    H: Interviews have to be brought to our media boss Markus Hörwick before printing.
    Q: Sounds like censorship.
    H: That's no censorship. We just want to protect our players and keep damage away from our club.
     
  2. I have never been to Leverkusen, it is true. From your description, I will not be quick to visit -- unless I have soccer tickets.

    I have found Germany to be a beautiful country and I have loved the (too small amount) of time I have spent there.

    Thank you for the updates on Glucksrad -- sorry that it was off topic, it just slipped into my post.

    Can you believe it? The BUNDESLIGA IS ABOUT TO KICK OFF! I am so stoked. Live has been depressing with no soccer games for the last two weeks.

    I am sure we will all be watching to see what happens to Leverkusen, Donovan and Hejduk!

    With amazing luck, Simak will turn out to be the total head case that he is rumoured to be, and Donovan will be able to walk into a starting spot and his first Bundesliga hattrick will come before Thanksgiving.
     
  3. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

    Feb 23, 1999
    Kampala. Uganda
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Once again, I do want to compare Donovan to Owen, on the U.S. scale -- though admitting that Donovan is not in Owen's class on the overall world scale. Based on his later performances, I think there is a very fair argument to be made that Donovan could have been starting and scoring goals in MLS at age 17 or 18.

    The unsupported speculation was yours regarding the terms of Donovan's previous loan arrangement with MLS. You don't know what the terms of the loan were and you are speculating about what they might be. My main point is that it would be unusual in football to receive a fee for a loan of a player who has never played, thereby negating your argument that Bayer has been real good to Donovan.

    I thought I conceded that Bayer could try to keep Donovan quiet, I just don't think it is right or smart.

    LD has proved that he can play with the best of the German attackers in the World Cup. Since Leverkusen did not play him for one single, solitary second in his first stint, it is hardly surprising he fears seeing his career stunted by not playing. He obviously believes that he was good enough to see some time in Cup competition, as a late sub in blowouts or something. Bayer's failure to do this indicates a lack of interest and belief in his abilities. And I am sure this occurred in the context of pre-signing promises by Leverkusen that Donovan would get a real shot at the first team right away. Probably everyother team in the world woudl have said that too, but I can't blame Donovan for not wanting to take a chance with his short career with a team that has already broken the faith with him.

    Actually I am a government employee so I can talk negative about my boss, though it wouldn't be smart. And most people can talke bad about their boss as long as they are willing to be fired. That would be fine with LD and I think if a team doesn't like what a player says they should terminate his contract.

    It is censorship and, though legal, is neither smart or moral.
     
  4. Mattbro

    Mattbro Member+

    Sep 21, 2001
    I probably shouldn't get involved in this catfight, but it is not at all unusual to receive a loan fee for a player who has either rarely or never played. It happens all the time in the Bundesliga. It's a case of supply and demand, and usually a less prominent club is willing to pay a modest fee for the services of a player it feels can be of help down the stretch. Often there is an option to buy.

    I think what makes this case special is that Leverkusen has always thought extremely highly of Donovan. Long before he was loaned to MLS, a coach at Bayer told me that there was no way the club was going to sell his contract, since they considered him to be one of the most talented players of his age group in the world. They let him go back to MLS a) to improve his game and b) so that he would not begin/continue to harbor ill will against the club. Under these circumstances, I could imagine Bayer waving the loan fee for LD, because they consider him to be a VERY special player, and more than just a way to make a quick "euro".

    Olaf, I don't believe Landon was earning that much at Leverkusen. His contract IIRC was highly performance-related - since he never saw any first-team action, I don't believe his salary exceeded 100,000 dollars, which MLS can certainly afford to pay him. I would be very surprised if Bayer is currently paying part or all of his salary. Putting two and two together I would guess: no loan fee, but MLS pays his entire salary.
     
  5. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    olaf, my opinion is that Landon is NOT basing his decision on footballing reasons. It's NOT about him getting first team action or not. It's about him being happy.

    Martin...my speculation is that Bayer may have acted like a semi-scrupulous college coach here in the States. "Come to my school, you'll be a star." Then the kid gets there, and he finds there are 5 other kids who have been told they'll be starts, too. And the story he's told of his teammates freezing him out goes along here.

    There are many hints from Landon that his unhappiness in Leverkusen, and his happiness in San Jose, come from the lack of ruthlessness here, relative to BL. I mean, in MLS, you only have 18 roster spots. You can't ignore players; everyone gets their shot. Guys aren't competing to make the matchday squad. Further, the rules and reality of MLS means that a club can't easily bring in a new star. Remember what happened to Frankie...he went to Bayer, spent some time getting acclimated, then was put into the starting lineup in a 4-3-3. The team went on a tremendous hot streak, coming in 2nd in the league. With Champions League football (and money) coming up, they bought replacements for their current players, Frankie among them. (I'm sure there's more to the story than this, putting some blame on Frankie, but the gist of it is on the mark.)

    Here, Landon has his friends and his family. He has the respect of the coaching staff. But what I think is a key element is that his teammates are really teammates, not competitors with him or each other for gametime. That may be partly Yallop's style, in addition to the small MLS rosters. But it's a great thing to have a job you like, and workmates who are your buddies.

    I give credit to Landon for understanding at age 20 how precious this is.

    To put it another way, the competition for HIS OWN playing time isn't bothering Landon, IMO. He understands that if he goes to BL, he'll be on the margins of the first team. He'll get his chances, but he won't be a star for them right now. That's not bothering him. If it were, you'd think he'd be trying to get sold to a lesser club.

    In my opinion, Landon likes the fact that his teammates in San Jose have great camaraderie, and I seriously doubt Leverkusen is like that. Landon is concerned about how the competition for playing time among his teammates will affect his happiness and work environment.

    Just informed speculation.
     
  6. Mattbro

    Mattbro Member+

    Sep 21, 2001
    Superdave, excellent post - right on the mark IMO.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Bayer (the soccer club) is a company in itself that has to compete in a very competitive business environment. It tries to keep its players happy, but when all's said and done it has to act in its own best interests - and those don't necessarily involve developing young American talent. I don't think the club should necessarily be faulted for LD's unhappy experience.

    MLS on the other hand has lost many millions promoting the development of young American players. No wonder Landon is so much happier in San Jose - the league is there for him, and not the other way around.
     
  7. I agree that SuperDave has hit the nail on the head.

    And to bring the issue full circle, I think that the concerns raised in SuperDave's post are all legitmate concerns that could be raised directly with leverkusen staff but that do not require Donovan to stir things up with the media.

    It is not a question of censorship. It is a question of maintaining the persona of Landon Donovan the soccer star.

    Stirring things up this way can alienate the fans. For example, Kicker was downright unpleasant about Donovan a few weeks ago, calling him a mama's boy and saying he should grow up and live up to his contractual obligations. That sort of article damages his reputation. Some Leverkusen fans will decide they don't want him around.
     
  8. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

    Feb 23, 1999
    Kampala. Uganda
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mattbro -- my understanding is that even with players who have played some, a loan normally requires nothing more than taking over the wage bill of the player. It depends, but my opinion is that this type of arrangement is more common than a loan fee. In fact, in many cases, the club receiving the player doesn't even pay all of the player's salary.

    I think Superdave's characterization of Leverkusen's approach, though speculation, is very accurate. Personally, I think it is smart of Donovan to not get burned by the same BS twice. It's a smart person who learns to rely more on actions than words.

    As for the theory that Donovan should raise these issues privately and not publically, this is silly. Raising it privately will just generate the same type of BS that Leverkusen sold him the first time. Raising them publically will hopefully create an environment where Leverkusen is willing to cede Donovan's rights for less money. That is good because Leverkusen is probably not good for Donovan.
     
  9. Nimbus2000

    Nimbus2000 Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Maine
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think LD might be well served if he simply characterized the whole situation as it seems to be:

    Incompatibility

    "My goals and BL's goals are different - we are incompatible. I fully intend to honor the contract that I've signed and give my all on the field but that does not change the fact that the organization and I are not compatible."

    Say it privately.
    Say it publicly.
    Let everyone guess as to why all parties arrived at this place.

    Incompatibility and a divergence of goals seems to best describe the current impasse and is not boyish media hype.
     
  10. Martin,

    Having chosen the name of a Monty Python Routine for my handle, I guess I can't complain that you think ideas are silly.

    That being said, where we disagree is that I think Leverkusen is good for Donovan, that he was not sold a line of complete BS, and that he should return there as long as he gets playing time. I do not think he needs to be a starter to benefit greatly from a return to Leverkusen. But he does need a reasonable guarantee of regular playing time.

    You apparently think he would do better to stay here and that Leverkusen is and was dishonest.
     
  11. Nimbus2000

    Nimbus2000 Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Maine
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Some people have mentioned LD's reputation being tarnished by this situation so I have a question: does the avid Bundesliga fan and the average BL fan know that Donovan is on Leverkusen's books? Is it common knowledge or do you have to be a bit of a soccer wonk in Germany to know this?
    I assume that after the WC most fans would know LD's status, though it is a strange one but assumptions can be wrong. If LD never showed up in Leverkusen again would many fans really notice?
     
  12. olafgb

    olafgb New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Germany
    We're turning round in circles, but there still remains the Rostock-interview of Donovan where he didn't show any sign of unhappiness to return to Leverkusen and really seemed to enjoy the interest for him. And there also is the fact that he signed a new contract before leaving to MLS - not an ordinary contract, but a 4 (! - in words: FOUR) years extension. Tell me what you want, but nobody is doing that who completely excludes a return. His change of mind was heard for the first time short before the WC and got especially loud after the WC - to me it sounds like lots of agent influence, he wouldn't be the first manipulated player.


    Martin, loan deals occur in many different ways. Usually they never are free as long as the team owning the rights is just happy to get rid off the player. And taking over a part of the salary is happening in cases when the new team can't pay the old salary and the old team wants to get rid off the player. There can also be variations like again the case of Paulo Rink who went for a 500 K loan sum to Nürnberg and Leverkusen paid 40% of his 2.5M income.

    And btw, I agree that Bayern's way of handling it is censorship. But players can not complain about being fined for reputation damaging interviews. In their contracts they sign clauses that explicitly allow the player to keep parts of the salary if he's acting negative for the club.


    Ethel, when (for me it's no 'if') LD returns, he is of course seen critical now after all these incidents. He could have taken the easy way and return with the good impression of the WC, then everybody would have been pleased to see him coming. Now the team is little sceptical and especially the media is very critical. Similar case is Jan Simak: after all the trouble about him he convinced his team mates with having the best fitness values of the whole team after the vacation. This was respected by the others and helped him to be integrated, but you can still see that the media is very sceptical and he can only convince them by good performances on the pitch.


    Superdave, of course Leverkusen promised him lots of things just like anyone would do. But he could have expected that with getting little information on the club or European soccer. With 16 he still was naive (which is normal), but maybe his parents or - much more probable - the agent didn't do the job properly.
    Btw, Frankie never was a regular starter. With 19 BL games (divided over two seasons) you're no regular player who's fooled by new ones. Bayer also was in the CL before Frankie appeared there.


    Matt, don't know how much LD made in Leverkusen. With 17/18 probably you're right, but surely this is getting more and more after every season. I'm quite sure that next season he'd get much more - 250 to 400 sounds realistic with 20/21.
     
  13. olafgb

    olafgb New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Germany
    That's matter of definition I guess. Anyone who's following Bundesliga regularly knows that Donovan is on Leverkusen's books, and even the average WC viewer knows it as this often was mentioned during the WC. But of course, if you are a fan just fixed on your team, then you don't know it - but anyone who's just a little into Bundesliga in general knows Donovan and his story at Bayer.

    Most fans however forget about Donovan if he doesn't appear there. The average 'kicker' or 'Sport-Bild' reader will notice it. The latest point when everybody gets to know about it would be WC 2006.
     
  14. Nimbus2000

    Nimbus2000 Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Maine
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks Olafgb.
     
  15. Mutineer

    Mutineer New Member

    Jul 14, 2001
    LOL :) I haven't heard "shove it" since the 70's.
     
  16. CrewToon

    CrewToon Member

    Jun 13, 1999
    Greenbrier Farm
    In Search Of... Johnny Paycheck. :D
     
  17. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    What right does a club that had nothing to do with his development have to him? Er, dumba$$, nobody forced you/your agent to sign on the dotted line 3 years ago. And then sign the extension. He needs to just stick to trying to improve his game and shut up before he looks even more like a spoiled brat.
     
  18. JG

    JG Member+

    Jun 27, 1999
    Just a small nitpick, but he'd already spent a couple months at Bayer before the U-17 WC, and he was already bitching about it (although more diplomatically than now).
     
  19. JG

    JG Member+

    Jun 27, 1999
    Sure he was, if only for a brief period. He started 10 matches in a row near the end of the 1998/99 season before sitting out the meaningless finale against Bayern. And going into the next season he was certainly favored to retain a major role, but IIRC some bad performances in preseason friendlies got him in trouble and he never really recovered.
     
  20. dcunited81

    dcunited81 Member

    Jul 18, 2001
    Green Bay, WI
    I hardly doubt it has much to do with the United States players work ethic coming into question. Personally, I happen to think that they are just making it extra tough for players from America to make it there. I mean, look how long it took guys like Tonny Shanneh and others in the league to earn just a small measure of respect. I find it insulting that they seem to think of us as sissy's over there. Ridiculous considering the crap that most of these guys have had to put up with just for playing this sport over here, but that's a whole nother story. Anway, the point is, I think in many respects that the US players work harder and have to go through alot of things that other German or Euro players would do. I mean, look at the crappy Brazilians that are in the league and some of the them I personally think LD and Conor Casey could probably run circles around, you know. No offense to the good Brazillian players in the Bundesligia, but you get the point.
     
  21. VanDijk

    VanDijk New Member

    Sep 3, 2001
    Ludwigshafen,Germany
    Why exactly should "they" make it extra tough for US players?

    Players get fielded by performance and ability. I don't think a coach cares much whether the guy comes from the US, from Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Canada or whatever nice place. He fields the best team he can possibly field. There are of course exceptions, but that goes without saying, coaches make mistakes just as players.

    You are probably right in that it helps if you are Brazilian to get a contract in the first place. That nation has gained its respect to come up with great players over decades. Something the US didn't. But to suggest that an American has more trouble to get into the starting line-up (and to make it over here) because of his nationality than any other player, once he got a contract, does not sound very reasonable. And seeing how many Americans play in the various leagues in Germany; is there any other place on Earth outside the US with that many American players?

    It's not a Mickey Mouse league and there are many players who have problems to get and maintain a starting spot - not only Americans. Generally, if a player is good enough, he plays. If he plays well, he earns the respect he deserves.

    Btw., it's just an article from some newspaper. I have never heard of anyone referring to US players in general as sissies. Maybe Donovan has tried really hard to persuade people to think of him like that. But Sanneh, Casey, Cherundolo, Gibbs, Thomas et al. could hardly be described by anyone in his sane mind as sissies... and they all have seen plenty of playing time with their respective clubs.
     
  22. olafgb

    olafgb New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Germany
    Van Dijk is 100% right.
     
  23. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    yup, training with bayer never did any good for landon because landon said so... not like landon has a chip on his low iq shoulder


    dude was playing, sorry he wasn't good enough at that time to get first team time... sometimes you actually have to earn that... talent don't mean jack unless your prove it, and often that means on the training fields before you get your shot


    what? you can say anything you want about your employers and not run any risks?

    i'll give you that... but this kid is whining like the world's biggest baby... he has already stated that he doesn't feel he should have to work hard every day to stay in the starting lineup... wtf???

    he should be allowed to coast? you think someone else is going to let him do that? no way... if i was yallop, i would run this little punk into the ground and find someone to own his ass
     
  24. mattgabe

    mattgabe Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Blacksburg, VA
    Actually it was Agoos who said he didn't like to fight every day for a first team place. Read the thread, dude, and please, please in the future get that first cup of coffee before you post.

    That was one bitter post.
     
  25. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

    Feb 23, 1999
    Kampala. Uganda
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Huh Jim, reading. I said that there is some support for Landon's position NOT because Landon said so but because BUT because his performances with the Nats did not improve until after he left Leverkusen. Low IQ? Landon is not the one who was nonstop critical of Arena prior to the World Cup. Me, I am impressed you have the guts to show your face here.


    Dude was playing? You mean AYSO caliber reserve games? This type of competition doesn't really increase loan value [and OLFGAB, how can you compare Donovan's loan situation to Paolo Rink who had played in the Bundesliga at one time well enough to get called up to Germany]. And how do you have any idea how Donovan showed on the practice field. For all you know, Donovan scored five goals per minute in every scrimmage.


    Yeah sure, that's what I meant. What I meant is that Leverkusen should be able to fire him but not gag him.


    Words are cheap. As long as LD keeps playing well, he can say what he wants, though knowing you, it is probably a comprehension problem.

    This has to be the stupidest thing I have read in a long time. You want his current coach to f&*$ with him because he said bad things about another club despite the fact that this player is responsible for the coach winning a MLS championship in his first season coaching. I see a bright future for you as a coach.
     

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