Donovan Should Pass on Another Loan

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | View Comments
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Landon Donovan  of the Los Angeles Galaxy looks on prior to a corner kick in the first half during the MLS match against D.C. United at The Home Depot Center on September 18, 2010 in Carson, California. The Galaxy defeated United 2-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

With the MLS season coming to a close, and with the January window rapidly approaching, steam is building behind another winter loan for Landon Donovan.  Everton are the most vocal bidders, of course, and Donovan has regularly expressed his desire to return to Goodison since leaving England in the spring.  Newcastle is also rumored to be interested in the Galaxy attacker.

But Donovan has given reason to believe it might not happen, citing fatigue as a concern.  Allowing for the possibility that some time off would change the situation, he nonetheless talks like a man pondering passing on a loan.

"It would be hard to say no. I really hope that, if it's not this year, I get to go back there and play again. But if you asked me now I would lean towards a little more uncertainty." - Landon Donovan on a potential January loan

And frankly, Donovan should pass on another loan. There's almost nothing to be gained at this point, having already proved he could play in the Premier League during his 2009 Everton stint. As a temporary hire, Donovan has value; but unless a Prem side is ready to step up with the necessary fund to buy him outright, loans will do little but hasten the decline of Donovan's powers.

At some point, no matter how physically fit he is, all the playing time Donovan has had over the last few years will catch up with him. Between European loans, MLS, and the National Team, Donovan's rest periods amount to little more than a few weeks from November to January. It's not quite non-stop, but it's about as close a player can get. "Burn out" isn't just a phrase, it's a reality. It would be a pity for Donovan to fall victim to it.

What does Donovan have left to prove? His period at Everton is remembered fondly, hence the repeat interest, and while there's no real reason to think he wouldn't be as good in another loan, a poor spell would spoil all the good feelings. If Donovan's intention in going to Everton was to prove he could play there, the job is already done; the value in "doing it more" is debatable at best and non-existent at worst. In a classic risk/reward sense, the chances of doing damage, be it through injury while there or longer term, well outweighs the reward of a little more European glory.

A permanent deal is a different story. But if the option is another loan, with the recent history of constant playing that Donovan has, the answer should be no.
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