Landon Donovan is basking in the glory of yet another triumph over Mexico as the leader of the US National Team. The on loan attacking player has been the key man for both the LA Galaxy and US since returning home from Bayer Leverkusen in 2005.
Donovan is currently on loan with Bayern Munich and unlike his time at Leverkusen, he is fitting in nicely. Chances are very good that Donovan will be at the very least in Germany until June. Should Jurgen Klinsmann last beyond this season as Bayern Manager it is entirely possible that the Galaxy will be forced to sell Donovan outright. Donovan’s MLS contract expires in December.
David Beckham is under contract until 2012. He may want to leave, but the Galaxy already struggling on the pitch cannot afford to lose their two most accomplished and marketable players in the same closed season. In terms of the low budget MLS, both players are irreplaceable from a perception standpoint.
The media in Europe has largely missed this aspect of the story. A reason exists as to why Bruce Arena and AEG have played hardball with AC Milan. The press on the continent would lead you to believe Milan, a marketing entity in itself is making the move for purely football related reasons, while the Galaxy is simply a promotion machine using Beckham as a spokesperson.
Milan signed Ronaldinho largely to sell kits across the globe. Buying Beckham would be a similarly inspired move. In the meantime, the LA Galaxy have some very real football related concerns about the potential loss of the clubs best player and the most visible symbol of football in the United States.
Friday’s announcement that Beckham will stay in LA at least for now must be viewed in the context of Donovan’s possible permanent move to Bayern. To ignore this would be to ignore a big part of the real story altogether.