DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Landon Donovan's rumored short-term loan move to Premier League club Everton has not yet been completed, as announced in a press conference by the LA Galaxy captain and coach Bruce Arena.
Donovan's well-publicized loan to the struggling English club had been rumored to be on the verge of announcement, however it was confirmed that negotiations are still underway as both teams remain hopeful of an impending deal.
"A loan deal has not been finalized," Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena confirmed. "We are hopeful it does get finalized and it will likely be done with Everton."
"A number of clubs around the world have expressed interest in Landon. We have been in discussion with those clubs, with Everton perhaps the most visible at the moment."
The announcement comes as the MLS Cup finalists disclosed a new four-year contract with the the all-time leading USA scorer, which further lays out the potential terms of any possible international loans which the forward may undertake while under contract with the Galaxy.
"As part of our agreement, Landon will be permitted to take any kind of loan opportunities that do exist," Arena explains.
"We are in agreement to let Landon to go out in loan for a ten-week period to Everton or another club from January 1st until March 15th," he continues. "He will return to Los Angeles and will certainly be available for our opening game on March 27 against New England."
The former US National team coach also clarified that any offers for a permanent move to a team taking Donovan on loan in the future would not be considered, as the team expects him to play the duration of the MLS season.
"We have made it clear to the clubs that have inquired about Landon going on loan that we would not entertain any transfer inquiries. We fully expect Landon to be back here after ten weeks."
Donovan himself confirmed his motivation to join his USA teammate Tim Howard at the Merseyside team, while continuing to maintain that his European interests lie primarily in the short term sampling rather than any sort of permanent relocation.
"I am very grateful to Bruce and [LA Galaxy ownership company] AEG for allowing me the opportunity to also do something that I'm passionate about, which is to have the ability to go on loan and go play in some of the best leagues in the world," the LA Galaxy captain states.
"I'm fortunate since most soccer players don't have this opportunity to have the best of both worlds."
"If I do go to Everton it will be very interesting. There's already a lot of Americans that play there and obviously with the way the draw went it would be very interesting," he states in regards to the recent pairing of the USA and England in next summer's World Cup.
Like his coach, however, Donovan cautioned that any move to the Toffees is still pending successful agreement of terms between the two teams.
"Let's make it very clear that it's still an "if" whether I go to England. I've been around long enough to see things fall out at the last minute."
Donovan is no stranger to European play, having two spells with German club Bayer Leverkusen and more recently having spent a ten-week spell with Bundesliga powerhouse FC Bayern in early-2009.
While his time in the team of Jürgen Klinsmann was regarded as largely unsuccessful with his playing time increasingly limited as the loan progressed and club president Uli Hoeneß publicly questioning his ability to match up with the level of play required, Donovan is confident that a potential stint with Everton would offer a different situation more favorable to a high degree of success.
"I have spoken to Mr. Moyes and we've been very candid about everything," he explains. "As a player you always want to go somewhere where you're wanted and where you have the best opportunity to succeed."
"Everton have been very professional and expressed their interest, and that's a place where I'd be very comfortable."