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Donovan: 'Once a Toffee, always a Toffee'
by Paul Kennedy, December 15th, 2011 5:02PM

TAGS:  americans abroad, england, los angeles galaxy, mls


[AMERICANS ABROAD] Landon Donovan's tweet early on Thursday signaled the move: "Once a Toffee, always a Toffee."

If he was to leave the MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy is was going to be to Everton.

And if he was rejoining the Toffees, it was going to again be on loan.

The 29-year-old Donovan returns to an EPL club in similar straits to the situation it was in when he joined two years ago.

Everton is 12th in the EPL, the same position it was at when he arrived at Goodison Park midway through the 2010-11 season.

Injuries are a problem for Everton as they were then. Veteran Frenchman Louis Saha is still injury-prone, and Victor Anichebe is sidelined -- this time a groin injury.

Goals have been few and far between. The Toffees' leading scorer, 19-year-old Apostolos Vellios, has all of three goals.

And Everton's finances are a mess with a cumulative debt of $70 million, meaning free agents and loan players -- like Donovan -- are Toffees manager David Moyes' only option.

If anything, Everton is a weaker team today than it was two years when a strong second-half run that coincided with Donovan's arrival resulted in the Toffees climbing to eighth place, not good enough to qualify for Europe but not bad considering they were as low as 16th at Christmas.

Since then, Steven Pienaar, Everton's best player in 2009-10, has moved to Tottenham, and Spaniard Mikel Arteta was sold to Arsenal.

There is talk that Everton's best young player, 20-year-old Jack Rodwell, could be on the way to Manchester United during the January transfer window.

The two-month loan deal for Donovan will begin Jan. 1 when the transfer window reopens in England run until Feb. 25.

"The opportunity to return to Everton and play for such a well-respected club and a manager that I hold in such high regard was something that was simply too good to pass up," Donovan said in a Galaxy press release. "I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Everton in 2010 and I'm hopeful that we can experience similar success this time around. I want to thank David Moyes and [Galaxy coach] Bruce Arena, as well as executives from both clubs and Major League Soccer for allowing me this unique and special opportunity."

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