On-loan Landon Donovan has five games left with Bayern Munich to convince the club to sign him to a permanent contract. The American international is with the club until March 9, when the current deal expires and he would return to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Despite being the all-time top goalscorer for the USA national team, Donovan has yet to get off the mark in competitive action for the Bavarian giants. He sits behind Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose in the pecking order for the striking positions, and is fully aware that time is running out for him to prove himself.
"I'm here with the expectation that anything can happen," he said, according to German newspaper Munchner Merkur. "I’ve had a few games to show what I can do. It was not perfect, but it was okay. Maybe goals will come against Cologne, Bremen, or Lisbon. Anyway, a total of five opportunities remain -- and everything could be different. I can only control my football. If you tell me on March 8 or 9, 'Go back to America,' then I will do that. I'll be gone."
For someone whose European career appears to hang in the balance, Donovan is keeping a calm head. He brushed aside questions about those making the decisions, the price the Galaxy are asking, or if David Beckham's move to Milan could scupper his own departure from LA, maintaining all the while that all he can do is concentrate on his own form and forget about things out of his control.
"There is no pressure," he said. "It's fun. But I know I don’t have much time. Five games remain until March 8, but I feel that things are looking up. I feel increasingly comfortable in training. Nevertheless, how everything will develop is not in my power alone. It could turn out that I score five goals for Bayern, but MLS still says it will not let me go. Or Bayern could say, 'Nice, but we don’t need you.' Whatever happens, happens."
Donovan may have overshot his look East for that tranquil philosophy, but not without reason. A move to Europe would surely boost his career, but he's already proved willing to remain Stateside and help build the game there.
When asked if a move back to California would be a defeat for him, he replied, "No, my wife is there, my dogs are there, and my team for the last four years. Plus many friends. I love the Galaxy. I've always said that I would like to play in Europe. If not now, then maybe next year. My contract expires in the US by 2011. That means after 2010, when the contract is approaching the end, it may be a compromise which makes sense for Galaxy and for me."
Local press has tipped Donovan to start against Cologne with Toni out injured, as he has the backing of the players and Jurgen Klinsmann. However, it appears Lukas Podolski is prefered by Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and GM Uli Hoeness. There could be an interesting political battle take place in the match selection.
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com