Whoever had Nov. 29 in the pool, it’s time to collect. That’s the day the annual Landon Donovan-to-Everton rumor was revived, with the U.S. international now “officially” linked with a third loan move to the Liverpool-based club.
The Express was the English outlet that flinched first, reporting today that Everton boss Roberto Martínez is chasing both Donovan and Spartak Moscow midfielder Aiden McGeady. If Donovan were to move in January, he’d be available for nine Premier League matches as well a many FA Cup matches Everton’s draw into in that time. Should be arrive, the U.S.’s all-time leading scorer would provide another option out wide, where Martínez has started Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar four games in a row in his 4-2-3-1 formation.
Of course, Donovan’s not the only U.S. international linked with a move to Everton. Just yesterday we heard rumblings of Clint Dempsey’s potential Merseyside sojourn. It’s certainly possible Everton’s talking to both, but it’s also possible a U.S.-friendly club is the destination of choice for tabloids trying to link popular Americans with Premier League homes.
Donovan’s link obviously makes sense, though, even if the manager the spoke so highly of him during the Galaxy star’s previous loans has since moved on to Manchester United. Though David Moyes is gone, the 31-year-old has previously spoken about his affinity for the club, claiming the Toffees as the one English club he’d consider playing for. While last season’s contract extension with the LA Galaxy seems to preclude the possibility of a permanent move, a short-term, World Cup-year reunion with fellow U.S. international Tim Howard could find Donovan back in blue.
Over two previous loan spells with Everton (2010, 2012), Donovan played a total of 17 league games, scoring twice during his 2010 stint. His performance helped silence criticism of his previous European performances, with some previously citing failed spells with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich as criticism of Donovan’s club career.
Thanks to his previous performances with Everton, those days are ancient history. If he returns to England, Donovan will be doing so trying to prepare for the World Cup while helping his second club return to Europe. There’s no longer a need for Donovan to prove himself.
Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.
Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:
“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.
“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”
Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.
Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.
Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?
Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.
[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]
The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.
The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.
Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.
He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.
Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.
Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:
“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”
The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.
France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.
That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.
Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.
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2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE