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Landon Donovan courted by EPL's Everton
by Ridge Mahoney, December 9th, 2009 7AM

TAGS:  men's national team, mls


[ENGLAND] Not for the first time, Everton manager David Moyes is pondering the addition of a U.S. international to his roster. According to The Guardian newspaper, Moyes is considering a loan deal for Landon Donovan to bolster his injury-riddled team's battle against relegation. This possibility was one reason Donovan hedged in the days after MLS Cup to confirm Galaxy coach Bruce Arena's assertion that Donovan would be with Los Angeles when it begins preseason training in February.

Donovan went on loan to Bayern Munich at the start of 2009 and despite gaining little playing time he's been inquiring about potential moves, both loans and transfers, this coming winter to help prepare for the 2010 World Cup.

Moyes utilized U.S. striker Brian McBride on loan while manager of Preston North End as well as Everton, and moved to sign keeper Tim Howard from Manchester United two years ago after taking him on a long-term loan.

Donovan is entering the first of two option years on his MLS contract and has expressed a desire to go overseas, preferably on a transfer if the right opportunity arose. Moyes lacks the funds to purchase Donovan during the January transfer window, though a deal could arise if Moyes decided to sell as well as buy next month. MLS and Donovan have not confirmed nor commented on reports that the two sides have begun negotiations for a new contract.

Everton lost to rival Liverpool, 2-0, in the Merseyside derby a week and a half ago, and had to stage a desperate rally to tie Tottenham last weekend at home, 2-2. It is 15th in the 20-team Premier League, tied on 16 points with Hull City, the club that employs U.S. striker Jozy Altidore.

Hull had been mentioned as a possible Donovan loan destination even before midfielder Jimmy Bullard suffered a knee injury when he flipped over the back of an opposing player and landed awkwardly against Aston Villa Saturday. Bullard's expected absence of six to eight weeks means he can return well before the January window closes, so Hull's need for a short-term replacement is not so critical.

Everton needs shoring up. Tricky, creative Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta suffered a cruciate ligament injury last February that has required two follow-up surgeries and his nine-month layoff has been extended by an infection. He is recuperating at his residence in Spain.

Phil Neville, Phil Jagielka, Jack Rodwell, Leon Osman, Louis Saha, Yakubu Ayegbeni, Dan Gosling, Sylvain Distin and Lucas Neill have all missed time in recent months because of injuries, and while the defense has been hit harder than the attack, Everton - which finished fifth and reached the FA Cup final last season - is only three points above the relegation zone. In 15 games, Everton has already conceded 27 goals, only 10 fewer than it did in 38 matches last season.

Because Donovan could not be registered to play for Everton before the opening of the transfer window Jan. 1, he would miss a heavy slate of Premier League games during the holiday period. Yet he could play when EPL teams commence participation in the prestigious FA Cup next month, and Everton has reached the Europa League knockout phase, which starts in mid-February.

Club America of Mexico has also been mentioned, most recently as last week as Univision -- which coincidentally is owned by the same company as the team -- as a potential destination for Donovan. He's angered Mexican fans numerous times by his play against their national team, not to mention urinating in the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara during qualifying play for the 2004 Olympic Games. This rumor first arose last summer and popped up again late last month.

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