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Donovan’s Effect on Galaxy’s Beckham Decision


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.

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  1. Catamount

    February 16, 2009 at 12:06 am

    European clubs create great teams by spending money. MLS franchises create good teams by selecting the right mix of players, developing a philosophy, and creating continuity. AEG has destroyed in the Galaxy all the things that make good MLS teams.

    European clubs have no concept of what the MLS is really like. It’s tough. It’s athletic. It requires great personal discipline, multi-time-zone traveal and stamina. It is really not an older player’s league. You can’t simply win easily because all the players on your team are better than all the players on the other team. You must fight game in and game out. You must be savvy, study film, play with tactical discipline and out work the opponent during and between games. The Euros have no idea what that is like.

    Frankly, I’m tired of watching Man U throw out the second team and demolish Derby County with an uninspiring display of superiority. It would be much more interesting if Derby County had eleven of Man U’s top 22 players, and Man U had to play somebody with equally good talent game in and game out. Now that would be interesting. But the EPL can’t have that. It’s too much like the MLS!

  2. Soccer Guru

    February 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    eplnfl, and kartik

    the comparisons to the C. Ronaldo situation are right on the money. Somehow the British press lauded United for their stand but have attacked the Galaxy for theirs.

  3. eplnfl

    February 14, 2009 at 5:58 pm


    Mocking? Upset that we dared said no to a major European club. How dare we! If he is such an over the hill player why has he had a good run in Italy and while I didn’t see it, the media reports are that he was an asset for England in their total defeat to Spain. We did the unthinkable told Europe they would have to wait.

    Does not a certain footballer of the year want to be out of England? Is Man U. mocked for keeping him in cold England when he wants to be in sunny Spain. Let them mock us, but the jokes on them and there is more to come. Well done MLS!

  4. Stu

    February 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    The reason ascribed to MLS’ intentions to keep Becks sounds like a massive rationalization. He didn’t want to stay and he won’t attract at the gate as much as he did his first two seasons.

  5. Soccer Guru

    February 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    The European press can mock MLS all they want. The league isn’t going to survive by sucking up to the Eurosnobs and Eurotrash. MLS must look south to Latin America, southeast to Africa and west to Asia. This was smart business. As long as Beckham stays in MLS, the Galaxy will sell jerseys and people will know what MLS is in far flung corners of the globe.

    If he sulks and doesn’t play well who cares? Only one footballer on the planet has Becks marketing appeal and his rights are not owned by any European club. Maybe that’s why they are so negative and spiteful in the euro trash press.

  6. Johnathan Starling

    February 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Lou, the international media is having a field day mocking MLS for not selling Beckham.

    Why have a player who doesn’t want to be here and is doing nothing on the pitch?

  7. eplnfl

    February 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    My take is that MLS decided that unless the money was to good to turn down there is a bigger upside to keeping Beckham, This also allows the MLS to show to it’s fans that it s a “major” player on the international scene. They can now stand up and say to the fans look we can keep big names, we do not just sell players, we stood up to a big club and are better for it. In short, buy tickets because we are keeping name players. Blanco however is still a better addition.( the Fire fan in me)

  8. Pingback: time » Blog Archive » Donovan’s Effect on Galaxy’s Becks Decision | Major League Soccer Talk

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