No rest for the negotiating weary. Just as the LA Galaxy get one soon-to-be-out-of-contract star tied up for a more extended hitch, they’ll need to begin worrying about another one. A more well-known one, in fact.
Landon Donovan’s deal with MLS is up at season’s end, just as Omar Gonzalez’s deal had been before a new contract was announced late last week.
Monday, during the debut episode of Fox Soccer Daily, Donovan revealed that his management team had already received other offers form lands beyond. More intriguingly, perhaps, Donovan indicated he was at a different point now, more willing to embrace a more permanent move overseas that has long eluded his liking.
What Donovan said on Fox Sports Daily:
We have received offers from teams in different countries that are intriguing. I’m still going to speak to the Galaxy and see where they value me and where they want to go, going forward.
“I’m really open in a way that I haven’t been before. In the past, I was pretty content to stay in L.A., but if it doesn’t work out and we can’t come to an agreement here, then I’m ready for a different challenge. And we’ll see what happens.”
There are two possibilities at work here. One, that at age 31, Donovan understands that it’s now or never for a move in Europe or perhaps even Mexico. (He’s fluent in Spanish, you know.)
The other possibility, the more likely scenario unfolding, is that the Galaxy and U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer is just creating some negotiating leverage for what could easily be his final contract. He could be looking at Clint Dempsey’s whopper deal – Donovan’s fellow U.S. international is now making around $5 million annually – and thinking that his own annual earnings of $2.5 million is looking a bit like thin soup.
Remember what we talked about yesterday, in regards to Gonzalez and how positioning within the U.S. national team is so critical ahead of a World Cup? Well, same applies to Donovan, and he’s sure smart enough to know so. On the one hand, moving to Europe would make Jurgen Kinsmann happy, indicating to the U.S. coach that Donovan remains interested in pushing past comfort zones and challenging himself.
Then again, it’s a risky gambit; if Donovan goes somewhere and fails to feature regularly, he has wasted so much international momentum collected during last month’s master class Gold Cup performance.
One more thing, too: Donovan told me last year about this time that statistical achievement absolutely does matter to him. He’s quite close to becoming Major League Soccer’s all-time leading scorer and could also be the league’s all-time assist leader. That doesn’t sound like a guy in a hurry to leave MLS – unless, of course, he gains the all-time goals mark this year, which may still happen.