Sunday, August 01, 2010 |
Landon Donovan says he would love to return to Everton. Everton says they would love to have him back. In a perfect world, Donovan's permanent move to the Liverpool club would just be a matter of cutting a check.
But the financial concerns are now a major roadblock. The Galaxy/MLS valuation of Donovan falls somewhere north of £10 million, and rightfully so. With Everton's books running on small margins, David Moyes says the chances of a reunion aren't looking good. Unless Everton decides to sell a player to raise the funds to buy Donovan, a feel good move back to Merseyside looks increasingly unlikely.
Donovan speaks reverently whenever asked about his time at Everton and a possible return; whether it's "Goodison or Bust" isn't clear, with the midfielder talking about "options" plural, but anyone with knowledge of Donovan and his personality think the particular situation matters greatly to his choice. Donovan doesn't want to go back to Europe just go back to Europe; he wants to go to a place where he'll be comfortable, something which will undoubtedly mean a greater chance of success on the field.
If Everton can't afford him, Donovan's 2010 might very well end with him still on the Galaxy payroll.
But don't expect the dance to stop. Until the clock strikes midnight on the day the transfer window closes, reporters here will continue to ask Donovan about his plans while reporters there will continue to ask Moyes about Everton's interest. The end won't come until the rules no longer allow a move to happen.
They're star-crossed lovers, Everton and Donovan, kept apart by the harsh realities of the business of football and destined to dance with each other through words spoken across an ocean. It seems odd that money, and not that ocean is the true barrier to consummation.
It's possible there are other suitors for Donovan's services, and it's possible one or two can swing the required fee with less trouble than Everton. If one of those clubs come calling, perhaps Donovan would push his Everton love aside. The right price and a chance to play at the highest levels are powerful aphrodisiacs; but would Donovan ever seem as perfect a fit somewhere else as he did with the Toffees? Would his abilities and contributions be as appreciated? Would the fans of another club take Donovan in as one of their own so quickly and wholeheartedly?
Nothing in the career of a highly-paid professional footballer in Donovan's position, barring catastrophic injury on the field, could be termed tragic. But if Landon Donovan never returns to the scene of his one and only European success, the warm bosom of Goodison Park, "tragic" is the first word that comes to mind.
In the next two weeks, Donovan and Everton will dance. Then the deadline will hit, and the dance will take on a different tone; a shift will bring talk of a possible future together, of what could be come January when Donovan and Everton will have another chance to bring about a glorious reunion.