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Strike in MLS Means Landon Donovan Stays At Everton?

From Liverpool, we are reading quotes from Everton FC manager David Moyes saying that a strike means Landon Donovan would stay at Everton.

“The loan officially finishes tomorrow and we will send him back but I think there is still a chance that the players there might strike and if that was the case then we are able to keep him, no problem,” Moyes says, in a quote published on the Everton FC web site.

However, in a quote published by the UK Press Association, Moyes is less definitive.

“I don’t know yet whether this is Landon’s last game, there is still a chance that there could be a players’ strike in the US and that could give us the chance of having him a bit longer,” the Everton boss says.

The AFP was equally guarded in their assessment, using “could” instead of something closer to what was published by Everton.

Language near the bottom of this AP report (that includes a quote from Galaxy coach Bruce Arena) seems to hint a deal would have to be worked out.

The real answer seems to be unknown, as international soccer has never before confronted this problem, leaving all parties with nothing beyond speculation and hope, two tenuous tenants.

Unfortunately (because of this context), the rest of this post is build upon the same; however, it is important to note the uncharted waters into which the MLS and MLSPU are drifting means there are few obvious answers regarding Landon Donovan’s immediate future.

If there are conditions within the loan agreement allowing Donovan to stay at Liverpool in the event of a labor dispute, Moyes’s confidence is well-place. If there is no such language, there are a number of problems.

The first: we are outside an international transfer window.

Per regulations, a loan is allowed to be extended (or made permanent) outside a transfer window; however, if Landon Donovan comes back to Los Angeles on the 15th, the loan may be (logically) seen as over, with any “extension” being considered a second, new loan.

A new loan between countries is supposed to be prohibited.  Even if MLS and Everton decide to overlook this rule and try to complete a second deal, clubs like Aston Villa and Birmingham City – clubs potentially competing with Everton for a spot in Europa League – are unlikely to be sympathetic.

The second major problem is Major League Soccer’s acquiescence.

Whether there is a strike, whether the loan extension can be done within the rules, Major League Soccer has to agree to the move.  A strike does not change the fact  Donovan is registered to Major League Soccer by the United States Soccer Federation.

While Major League Soccer could be provided incentives to extend Donovan’s loan, it is not a given that they will be willing to work with a key member of their opposition. Assuming they will (or won’t) seems speculative.

The final issue is whether Donovan should accept an extension. It seems a given, but there may be an ethical concern surrounding his role with the union.

As it concerns his playing career, a loan extension would be a great move. However, should a move could be a benefit to Major League Soccer, it could be considered unethical for him to engage in an action that benefits MLS in the face of a strike.  Potential benefits could be covert and financial or something like a tacit agreement to work with Soccer United Marketing to set-up a summer tour of the United States.

Again, more speculation, but perhaps another example of things not being as cut-and-dry as quotes of the last 24 hours have made us believe. If Major League Soccer benefits from a loan extension, isn’t Donovan obligated (as a leader within the Players Union) to reject such an extension?

Perhaps an extension would see no benefits for MLS, and MLS altruism would allow Donovan to stay in Liverpool.

In the coming days we may get more details about how Donovan could stay in Everton. As we enter uncharted waters regarding registrations behind held amidst a player strike, the USSF, CONCACAF, or FIFA may intervene with a clarification, allowing the move.

Until those clarifications come, we remain where we were before Thursday’s vote: on the edge of uncharted waters.

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  1. Flex Buffchest

    March 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I think, if you’re under contract for a team, you should be back by the start of that league’s season. If we had a European player on loan in the MLS, I wouldn’t expect him to miss half of his regular season to be over here. Wouldn’t be fair to his teams fans. Donovan or Beckham shouldn’t sign a contract to be on the LA Galaxy if they’re going to miss half the season. It isn’t fair to their teammates or the LA fans.

    • Pakapala

      March 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm

      @ Flex Buffchest:
      I don’t see what is so unfair. The extent of the loan is agreed between the two teams, so the player has little control on the length of their loan to a team. Teams in Europe loan players all the time to other teams DURING their season (ex: Jozy Altidore). Villareal fans cannot say Altidore should not sign a contract to be on Villareal if he’s going to miss the whole season playing for another team.

      • Flex Buffchest

        March 13, 2010 at 5:09 pm

        I’m not saying it’s the players fault. I know they have little control over it. But Landon just signed a three year contract with the LA Galaxy. You think it’d be fair to the Galaxy fans that pay for tickets if Landon to be gone half of the season? Same with Beckham. I’m not saying it’s all about them and they are the only ones people are paying for, but they are considered a big part of the team and when they’re not contributing, it hurts LA’s team not having a set line-up.

      • Charles

        March 14, 2010 at 11:41 am


        Yeah, I think Rooney is going to be loaned out anyday now.

        Obviously you are comparing apples to oranges. Maybe, hopefully, someday Altidore will be as popular with fans and desired by teams as Donovan, but right now it is meaningless comparison.

  2. Flex Buffchest

    March 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Why does everyone keep bringing up the Donovan-Beckham loan situation? It’s different. Landon is playing over at Everton in MLS’s off season. Meaning, he’ll be back by the time the MLS season starts, unless of course there’s a strike. But Beckham will be gone till the end of MILAN’S season and won’t be back until July, middle of MLS’s season. And that’s what he’s been doing. See the difference? Don’t get me wrong, I think Beckham is great and I’m a fan, but with his site showing him in a Milan jersey all the time, and him coming into the MLS half season, you really can’t see why some of the fans and teammates question his commitment?

  3. This One Guy In Detroit

    March 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Nice post, but I think you might be parsing those various press reports a bit too meticulously. For instance, I sincerely doubt there’s anything to be read into AFP’s use of “could” — it’s just the word choice by some wire grunt on deadline in a newsroom somewhere.

    Put it this way: AFP doesn’t know any more about the situation than anyone else. They haven’t done some deep extra reporting that allows them to reveal the truth that Donovan merely “could” stay at Everton. They’re just paraphrasing the same stuff everybody else already knows.

    • Richard Farley

      March 12, 2010 at 11:32 pm

      Definitely a valid criticism TOGiD. Hopefully people read your comment. I think it appropriately augments what I wrote.

      • This One Guy In Detroit

        March 13, 2010 at 10:41 am

        No sweat. I know we’re all craving every scrap of information we can get about both these stories (Donovan and the strike).

  4. shaka kahn

    March 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Donovan is a HYPOCRITE!!!!! he bad mouths beckham for wanting to stay with AC last season and then goes to do the same thing with Everton.

    • Jammer

      March 12, 2010 at 11:01 pm

      You are an idiot. Donovan never badmouthed Beckham for his extension. He criticized Beckham’s lack of effort in the previous year’s Galaxy games.

      • This One Guy In Detroit

        March 12, 2010 at 11:11 pm

        It really is astounding, this misconception that Donovan badmouthed Beckham for the Milan loan. It’s everywhere right now, in practically every Donovan comment thread around the web. There really are a lot of clueless idiots out there.

        • Richard Farley

          March 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm

          I even saw this mentioned in a, round table-like piece. Please don’t quote me – I don’t remember much, I just remember Andrea Canales (who I try to read as much as possible) making the same point you made, TOGiD. It’s good to reiterate, occasionally.

  5. David

    March 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    If MLS screws Donovan on this, they will further incentivize every young American player who can bypass MLS for an overseas league will do so; and that every American player in MLS will jump to an overseas league as soon as they can.

    • Charles

      March 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      I don’t get how MLS is screwing him ?

      He WANTS to play here, he signed a four year deal. That is not insignificant. You don’t sign a four year deal if you want to play elsewhere. Unless you are simple.

      American’s really need to stop being so insecure. Do you really think that Landon discovered he could play in the EPL on this loan ? Seriously ?
      He is the top player on a national team ranked in the top 20 easily, and he couldn’t make it, on what, the 30th-50th best team in the world ?

      He signed a deal to play in MLS ! I know many of you wish he didn’t, but he did.

      • Flex Buffchest

        March 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm

        That’s what I’ve been saying. Donovan signed a contract with the Galaxy. Simple as that. It was HIS decision. No one forced him. He wants to stay a little bit longer because of the World Cup. Look up what he said when they announced Donovan signed his contract. He said he loves it here in Southern California and he wants to help the MLS and US soccer get on the map. But people are getting all mad at Bruce Arena and the MLS like they’re forcing him. He signed a contract and he knew that Everton was just a loan. Sorry that some of you listened to the media.

      • David

        March 14, 2010 at 3:09 pm

        Seriously Charles, do you actually follow soccer? First, Donovan has expressed a desire to stay at Everton. Second, in every league around the world players under contract are transferred to other teams, at the player’s request, ALL THE TIME.

        Proper, well run soccer organizations do what they can to accomodate a player’s desire to move to another team, because if they held players against their will, quality players will avoid signing with that club. Pretty simple really.

  6. SSReporters

    March 12, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Donovan should stay even if the strike delays the season. Stick it to the Eurosnobs by having him play in the new NASL so he can grow the league. If you’re against that move you hate America and are against the USMNT. 🙂

    • Charles

      March 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Besides St Louis has as much a chance of winning the EPL as Everton.

      With the rediculous amount of insecurity, “oh I hope Landon does good in England”, you would think there is at least a couple of people that would like to see him leave and Everton fall flat after he leaves….one person ?

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