Is Landon Donovan being hypocritical by saying he would like to remain at Everton - in comparison to David Beckham last year with A.C. Milan?
Shane Evans: I think he is being a bit deceiving in his desire to stay with Everton because it was him who had problems with David Beckham doing it last season. I understand that the MLS labor situation messes things up a bit, but Beckham went to AC Milan to keep his game sharp and Donovan has done the same. Now that he found how well it's gone he wants to stay and no one seems to think that it's a problem when last year it was huge news that Beckham wanted to stay in Italy.
Andrea Canales: The timeline of stuff is a bit off because what most people think of as Donovan's criticisms of Beckham became public in the summer of '09, but they were stuff that he said back in '08, mostly about how he felt Beckham seemed disinterested in playing for the Galaxy after Ruud Gullit was replaced as coach. I don't recall that Donovan ever said that much about Beckham's loan. Donovan actually went on loan at the same time Beckham did - to Bayern Munich, and he was hoping for a buy offer from them. I think more than anyone, it was Galaxy fans who took Beckham to task for the loan move, partly because Beckham also began saying some negative things about MLS at the time, when previously, he'd been adamant about being a positive ambassador for the league.
Evans: I agree that Galaxy fans took it up with Becks when he wanted to extend his loan, but that's what this is all about...the loan. Becks extended his and got shtick for it. He may not have gone about it the best way, but the fact is, he was away from the team playing for AC Milan. Now that Donovan wants to do it, he should have some kind of talk about it too. Provided there is MLS soccer this season, being without their captain, who is more part of the team than Beckham ever was, is a much bigger hit to Bruce Arena and co and if he really cared about the team, which he says he does, he'd go back when scheduled.
Canales: I guess that's part of why there isn't much outcry - because Donovan has said he's perfectly willing to return, which Beckham never did. Yeah, it's definitely trying to have it both ways of sorts, but Donovan's been saying, "I'd love to stay if it works out, but I'll be happy to go back, as well." If the Galaxy were well compensated by Everton, they'd be able to bring in players that would keep them a competitive team. There's not much else Donovan can say that shows respect to both the team that gave him an EPL opportunity and the one that he belongs to than to say he'd like either option.
Evans: Showing respect is a part of it, but the loan was ten weeks and it should stay that way. Again, putting the labor talks aside, his team is set to take the field in two weeks and he needs to be here. As the captain, as the team's leader, Donovan needs to be in Los Angeles. Not only that, but didn't he just sign a new lucrative contract with Major League Soccer? He's the poster boy of not only the Galaxy but the whole league and not having him at the team's first match not only makes him look bad but the whole league.
Canales: Being away for preseason isn't a big deal when he's getting regular game minutes at Everton. He'll be in fine shape. Unless there is a strike, or Everton buys Donovan and that big contract away from MLS, it's pretty much a certainty that Donovan will be at that first Galaxy game, and I doubt any fan will question his motivation. He's been huge for that team, from winning the championship in 2005 to being the brightest spot of the struggling years they've had, to leading the team back to the MLS final. The Galaxy are his hometown club, where he always wanted to play. Because he did sign that contract, I think that more than anything proves he's committed to the club. That contract ensures that the Galaxy will either get Donovan for his best playing years, or be nicely compensated in a sale to a team that wants him badly enough to match that value.
Evans: I agree the contract meant he was committed to the club...when he signed it. Since then, he has dropped more hints about staying at Everton permanently than he probably should have. Don't get me wrong, Landon Donovan is a great player and an amazing ambassador for MLS, but just because he's being 'nicer' about wanting to extend his loan doesn't mean it's right. Having said that, I look forward to watching him play, wherever it is.
Canales: Yeah, I think Donovan probably found out that he liked England and playing for Everton more than he ever expected, and he might even regret signing that Galaxy contract. That still doesn't take away from the idea that there are distinct differences between how he and Beckham have treated MLS and the Galaxy as a whole.
Evans: You're right, but these are pro athletes and in this day and age it's often times more about the individual than the team, and both have done wrong by their team, whether it was done in a friendly way or not.