Championship - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Reports: AC Milan headline Serie A clubs chasing Landon Donovan

16 Comments

About a day after Landon Donovan revealed he would consider a move abroad, clubs in one of Europe’s top leagues are after him.

Donovan, 31, spoke about his future earlier this week as his current contract with Major League Soccer is set to run out in January 2014.

Serie A sides Genoa, Sassulo and Hellas Verona have all made their interest clear to Donovan’s camp, while European giants AC Milan are also intrigued by Donovan’s situation. Milan are said to want a deal this summer but Donovan will likely stay in MLS until January.

It seems as if the LA Galaxy attacker will certainly have plenty of options if he does decide to leave MLS for Europe. But despite all this interest from European giants, which league or which club would suit Donovan best?

Milan could well be in the Champions League and boast a whole array of attacking talent, with Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng leading the way. But would Donovan’s style of play suit the Italian league? I think so. More so than the Premier League, at this point of his career.

(MORE: Are their hints of Landon Donovan leaving MLS?)

Don’t get me wrong, whatever league Donovan joins he would do well. Class is permanent. But if he did leave MLS, playing in Italy or maybe Spain would suit his style of play more. Quick one-two’s and a possession based game would allow him to get on the ball and dictate games.

The Premier League has become more and more physical in recent years, and I struggle to see Donovan keeping up with the pace of the current incarnation of the PL. Donovan had adapted his game to suit his age and how he can best manipulate the situations, he’s still quick over the first 10-15 yards but the pace of England’s top-flight is relentless.

So what options would he have in the PL? Maybe Everton where he was on loan in 2010 and 2012, as he won plenty of friends. And what about a reunion with David Moyes at Manchester United? Now that would be something. And aren’t we forgetting that despite Donovan’s stellar Gold Cup campaign this summer, his place in Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad is by no means guaranteed.

Not at all.

So a move to a big European team or league would certainly help boost Donovan’s chances of making the plane to Brazil. Klinsmann would be a huge fan of seeing Donovan in Europe. But is all this transfer talk a bit ‘pie in the sky?’ Well, if Milan is linked with Donovan, why not United?

Between now and the end of the MLS season, a potential new destination for Donovan will likely arrive every day. This is just the start of it.

Serie A, AC Milan, maybe a move back to England… Not bad for a player many chucked on the scrapheap after his self-imposed sabbatical last offseason.

Dempsey returns to training after second heart procedure

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 28:  Clint Dempsey #2 of MLS All-Stars chases after the ball up field against the Arsenal FC during the second half of the AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Avaya Stadium on July 28, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Many were concerned about USMNT and Seattle Sounders attacker Clint Dempsey‘s future when he underwent a pair of heart procedures in 2016.

The 33-year-old Dempsey took another step to allay those fears when he hit the pitch for Seattle’s first day of preseason camp.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs. Serbia? ]

The Sounders won the 2016 MLS Cup despite the absence of Dempsey, and his return would further strengthen the side. General manager Garth Lagerwey said Dempsey won’t be rushed, but could be nearing a return.

EFL Cup second legs preview: Liverpool, Hull City aim for comebacks

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Divock Origi of Liverpool battles with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (L) and Ryan Bertrand of Southampton during the EFL Cup semi-final first leg match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on January 11, 2017 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Southampton are 90 minutes from Wembley Stadium.

Hull City and Liverpool would prefer to change that.

After first legs a fortnight ago, the EFL Cup semifinals play out on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Feb. 26’s final at Wembley.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs. Serbia? ]

First up is Southampton‘s trip to Liverpool, with the Saints nursing a 1-0 lead from the first leg at St. Mary’s. The Wednesday kickoff sees Saints hoping the Reds’ poor run of form will continue at Anfield. Liverpool has one win 2017, and that was an FA Cup replay victory over Plymouth Argyle.

Southampton boss Claude Puel knows the Reds will be ornery:

“We know Liverpool. They lost against Swansea at home, and I am sure they will want to react against us, but it’s important to keep all of our focus about our play.

“We know they are fantastic, a great team, with great players, but you saw in the first leg we have the ability to produce a strong game against them. It will be important to make a strong game – a perfect game – I think.”

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United got a terrific result in the first leg at Old Trafford, scoring twice and holding Hull City from scooping up a valuable road goal. Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini scored the goals in the 2-0 win, but the KC Stadium will be rocking on Thursday as the Tigers look to reverse the result.

United midfielder Michael Carrick says the Red Devils will play as if they are starting from scratch:

“It’s definitely not over, we all know that. We are telling ourselves that. I think we’ll be pretty much full strength and will approach the game like it’s a 0-0 and starting from scratch.

“It’s dangerous when you go in there defending a lead to tell yourself this result will do or that result will do, or we can afford to do this or that.”

Report: China tempting TFC’s Giovinco with big offer

Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Union during the first half of an MLS soccer playoff match in Toronto, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

Could Sebastian Giovinco’s chances of another MVP award be diminishing?

It wouldn’t be on account of a lack of production, rather massive money coming his way from the Chinese Soccer League.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs. Serbia? ]

Great, and right when we were daydreaming about how Toronto FC’s Italian attacker could run a revenge tour on the folks who somehow left him out of the MVP finalists last year.

Giovinco turns 30 on Thursday.

From The Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larsson:

“The Chinese club seems to be very interested, but I don’t think it’ll be easy to take him away from Toronto,” Giovinco’s agent, Andrea D’Amico, told the broadcaster.

“We received an important offer from China and we’ll talk to Toronto to decide, along with Sebastian, what to do.”

Giovinco is with Toronto FC for preseason training camp, and both the club and player have shown no interest in moving on from the diminutive winger and 2015 MVP.

But if China comes calling with crazy money, say a $25-30 million transfer fee, shouldn’t TFC think twice? Any figure above $25 million would be more than the sum of the three biggest incoming transfer fees in MLS history (Miguel Almiron, Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe).

AFCON wrap: Ivory Coast bounced, DR Congo wins Group C

Congo's soccer players celebrate after scoring a goal against Togo during the African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match between Congo and Togo at the Stade de Port-Gentil, Gabon, Tuesday Jan. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
1 Comment

Down went another knockout round mainstay from the Africa Cup of Nations, as the Ivory Coast failed to capture one of the top two spots in Group C.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Morocco 1-0 Ivory Coast

Needing a win to move on, the Ivory Coast fell in its final group match. Rachid Alioui scored a 64th minute goal that meant the Ivory Coast needed two to advance to the quarterfinals. The goals didn’t come, and Morocco will face the Group D winner next.

Togo 1-3 DR Congo

Junior Kabananga, Paul-Jose M’Poku, and Ndombe Mubele scored as the Leopards finished the group stage with an unbeaten record of 2-1. DR Congo will face the runner-up of Group D in the quarterfinals.

Wednesday’s matches

Ghana is through with six points, while Uganda is out. Egypt will go through with a result against Ghana, while Mali needs a win and an Egypt loss to get to tiebreakers.

Egypt vs. Ghana — 2 p.m. ET
Uganda vs. Mali — 2 p.m. ET