Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy announced an agreement today where Donovan has signed an extended contract with the Galaxy taking him through the 2013 MLS season. It seems an agreement is also in the works to allow Donovan to spend from January 1 to mid-March on loan with Everton.
In a statement put out by the Galaxy, Donovan said, “I am excited to be able to pledge my future to the Galaxy by signing this new contract. I have enjoyed my time with the Galaxy and am committed to helping bring the club another MLS Cup championship. I believe in this team and I want to be a part of its bright future. This is a great day for me both personally and professionally and I look forward to many successful years ahead.”
Interestingly, Donovan said he would not have signed the new deal, which reportedly doubles his previous $900,000 annual salary, unless he was allowed to go out on loan. Presuming the loan with Everton goes through, the deal will allow Donovan to spend a little time playing in England ahead of the World Cup.
From the Galaxy’s standpoint, it was critical to sign Donovan to a new contract before any loan deal was finalized. If Donovan does well with Everton, and then has a good World Cup, there could be many suitors for him later. Having Donovan sign a new contract puts the Galaxy and the MLS in a strong position to either resist any offers or to get the maximum benefit from any offer they choose to accept.
For Donovan, he is also now in a no-lose situation. In the worst case scenario, he has a guaranteed four year contract at about $1.8 million annually. However, that $1.8 million (about £22,000 per week in England) is far below what most significant players in England make. If he does impress at Everton and in South Africa, the MLS will be in a position to demand a sizeable transfer fee and Donovan will be in a position to earn far more than what he can in the MLS.
With his future secured, one way or another, Donovan is now free to put all his energy into his 2010 football – a year that will undoubtedly be the most important of his career.