Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What is this, a foreign exchange program? (Beckham to US, Donovan to Europe?)

Dana Franks and I noticed an intriguing note in EPL Talk:

Sky Sports is reporting that U.S. star player Landon Donovan has expressed an interest in playing in the Premier League.

Because I had never heard of Landon Donovan before David Beckham came to town, I didn't realize that Donovan has already been to Europe:

Before his 18th birthday Donovan signed a professional contract with Bayer Leverkusen, a team in the top German league. He was a gifted young player, with incredible speed and raw talent and Leverkusen hoped to be able to mold him into a starring role with the club. Donovan stayed at Leverkusen for 2 years before deciding he had had enough....

So Bayer Leverkusen loaned him to the fledgling Major League Soccer's(MLS) San Jose Earthquakes.

After leading the US to the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup...

Donovan went back to Germany in 2004 as a bit of a prima donna. He had been a star in MLS, the best of the best in the United States. He was arrogant, and because of that, he was a bench warmer at Leverkusen. Unhappy and depressed, he came back.

Then came the Galaxy, Beckham, and personal recognition. Sportsmania continues:

Now is the time for Donovan to give Europe another try; to prove his doubters wrong. And he will succeed. He must leave for Europe either during the summer or after the MLS season has ended. If he waits any longer his window will pass him by. The 26 year old Donovan must recognize this and take his chance when it comes his way, and it will come.

But to where?

He must be choosy, he must not go back to Germany, and I would also argue against England. Those leagues have play styles that do not compliment Donovan's game. Spain would be a great landing spot, his speed and technical ability would do well there, and he already speaks the language fluently.

I couldn't find anything on the Sky Sports website about the item that EPL Talk cited, but I did find a quote on Yanks Soccer:

There was a report on Sky Sports saying that Donovan would welcome a move to England. Here’s what Donovan said.

“The older I get and the more I play, the more I’m yearning for that highest level I can play at. I think the Premiership would be the best place to play.”

We'll see what happens.

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