Landon Donovan might be headed back to England and Everton in January, and the chances that it will be permanent just got a lot better.

Wayne Rooney appears headed out of Manchester United, a situation that would be a windfall for the club the developed him, Everton.  A sell-on clause of 25%, should United be find a buyer for the disgruntled striker (which they certainly will), would bring Everton millions of pounds; after budget restrictions kept David Moyes from buying desired players in this summer's transfer window, Everton would suddenly have the opportunity to spend.

Could they spend some of that windfall on Landon Donovan?  Moyes made it clear that he wanted to bring Donovan in permanently this summer but lacked the funds to do so; Rooney's transfer from United would conceivably make those funds available.  There's no reason to believe Moyes wouldn't have the freedom to spend the money earned through Rooney's sale, so as long as MLS is willing to part with Donovan, a deal seems very possible.

Down the stretch of the MLS season Donovan has cited fatigue as a reason he might not return to Everton in the winter.  But with the possibility of a permanent move, rather than short loan stint he went on last year, the Galaxy playmaker may have a change of heart.  Certainly a break of six to eight weeks has been enough for Donovan in the past; if Everton has an offer on the table, it's difficult to imagine him passing it up.

Courtesy of a clause inserted into the sale agreement reached by Everton and Manchester United on a young Wayne Rooney, Landon Donovan could be playing his final month in a Galaxy uniform.

Donovan's rumored price tag, per Martin Rogers of Yahoo! was $16 million.  Everton will have that and more to spend if Wayne Rooney is sold in January.  Will David Moyes use it to buy America's greatest player?


Back to update this post with some relevant information.  Everton only benefits from a Rooney sale if there actually is one; there are two wrinkles that could complicate the situation from the Toffees end.

1. The Webster Ruling

Laid out at Dave's Football Blog, the Webster Ruling would allow Rooney to buy out the remainder of his contract for £5 million in July and leave United.  I can only guess that Everton would get nothing.

2. Not a Sale, A Swap

There's a thought floating around that Real Madrid would be happy to swap erstwhile striker Karim Benzema and some cash for Rooney in January.  I'm not sure how Everton's fee would be calculated in this case.  A simple cut of the cash portion of the transaction?  That doesn't seem fair considering that Benzema represents significant value.

**UPDATE 10/20**

Another update, this time to clarify just how much Everton is due from United if Rooney is sold.  A careful re-reading of the details of the sell-on clause reveals that the Toffees receive 25% "of any excess sum over all amounts paid in this agreement."  The agreement in question paid Everton £20 million as a transfer fee plus up to £7 million for achievements like a Champions League title and the number of caps Rooney earned for England.  Because Everton was paid for most (if not all) of the incentives, the Tofees' cut of Rooney's transfer fee would be 25% of the fee after subtracting £27 million from it.

Obviously that means less money for Everton to buy in January.  Unless Rooney goes for an astronomical amount, the sell-on profit itself won't be enough to buy Donovan.

***UPDATE 10/22***

It's all moot now.  Wayne Rooney has signed a new 5-year contract to stay at Manchester United.
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