No Donovan Transfer Coming

Thursday, July 15, 2010 | View Comments
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: US men's soccer players Steve Cherundulo, Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra backstage after receiving the ESPY award for best moment at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images for ESPY)

If you believe The Don.

At the Thierry Henry hubbub on Thursday, Garber reportedly said that Donovan is a "real soccer hero" and that the league can't do without him.

I can hear you gasping in horror, those of you hoping to see Donovan plying his trade abroad in the near future; there's an overriding sense, just as there was last year around this time, that MLS "owes" it to Donovan to let him leave. Provided the price is "reasonable", Major League Soccer should just take the money and send off their most marketable American asset.

I'm taking Garber at his word here, for the simple reason that it's easier to say "no comment" when asked about Donovan's sale status than to produce a statement like this. Simply put, Donovan's value will always be greater to the league than any club is willing to pay. Donovan's pushing thirty, he's hardly a game-changing player, and talents are likely most in-demand with mid-level teams without the ability to overpay. Unless Man City is stepping up with a truckload of cash, the seller and the buyer are going to have trouble coming to an agreement on value.

I've vacillated a bit on my belief as to whether Donovan would stay or go. I believe him to be happy with his success at Everton, comfortable with himself as a player and a person, and not in need of another "challenge." He just signed a new MLS contract in December, the very thing that allowed him to go to England to prove to himself that he could play there. A full season or more there would solidify his reputation as a top player, but what would it bring him personally?

Let's not get indignant with Garber or the league on Donovan's behalf. It's probable we'll never hear if he's upset with the possibility that the league won't sell him, because he's not the kind of player to make a stink. Since that's the case, I'm not going to presume that some great injustice has been done; Donovan has willingly assumed the mantle of American soccer's poster boy, with an eye towards "building the game". The reality is that the best place for him to do that job while still in his playing days is here, in MLS, not in England or elsewhere where he would be off the mainstream American radar.

I would love to see Donovan back in England. But I'm not going to rip the league for holding on to a player that is much more valuable to them than he is on the open market. It won't be the end of the world if Donovan stays.

Again, if you believe Garber. I know some of you never will.
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