Major League Soccer’s hottest commodity is not one of their new, highly-paid foreign stars, but their homegrown California kid, Landon Donovan, and they must do everything they can to keep him or pay the consequences.
Donovan, the all-time leading goal scorer for the United States Men’s National Team, is being closely watch by a handful of the top European clubs, but the MLS can ill afford to lose him.
The MLS is in it’s 14th season, but still in its infancy stage, so if they want to continue the sport at the grassroots levels then they must keep Donovan in this country.
International superstars David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg – as well as the host of Mexican international players – will do a good job at selling jerseys and filling seats, but they will not do the job a player like Donovan is capable of doing.
Donovan has become an instant American icon following his exertions and leadership at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and it will help young teenage boys stay with the sport rather than abandon it for one of the other major sports here in America.
MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, has already said that the Los Angeles Galaxy star is not for sale, but he needs to stick to his guns, or the league – as well as American soccer – will be setback another four to eight years.
Big spending Barclays Premier League clubs – like Manchester City and Everton, a club he spent time with on loan with last season – will definitely be testing – if they already haven’t – Garber’s resolve which would have to be a record-setting transfer fee for an American player.
Donovan will more than likely be in the American starting line-up against Brazil, but if the rumors surrounding the future are true about Bob Bradley’s future, then another English club might reach out with a bid for Landon.
A win or decent performance by Bradley and Donovan against the all-mighty Brazil could all but secure their time on this side of the Atlantic with Aston Villa interested in the New Jersey native boss.
Villa, who is owned by Cleveland businessman, Randy Lerner, could very easily make Bradley his next manager following the somewhat shocking resignation of Martin O’Neill.
Bradley did a solid job on the world’s biggest football stage in South Africa this summer, but Sunil Gulati, who is the President of United States Soccer Federation, has said that the team failed to meet his expectations.
Despite retracting that statement, Gulati has put the sword to Bradley and might force him to leave his post, which would make Donovan his number one target if he lands a managerial position at European club.
If all this speculation is true, it would be frightening to see Donovan line-up on the opposite side of Ashley Young with two strong targets to aim for in the middle at Villa Park next season.
Villa already has an American contingency with three Americans on their books with Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan and young Eric Lichaj, so adding Bradley and Donovan would help both settle in.
Landon Donovan has been the most consistent performer and the face of Major League Soccer, so it is imperative that Don Garber keeps his prized-asset to help grow this sport.