After years of being committed to Major League Soccer, Landon Donovan might be finally walking away.
As part of an ambitious summer in the transfer market under its new American owner, Thomas DiBenedetto, AS Roma is expected to make a bid on the 29-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder according to a report in Corriere dello Sport.
If the report is accurate, Roma will be taking a considerable risk to acquire MLS’ most popular player. Donovan won’t come cheap as it is expected that his transfer fee would be over $15 million and he would seek a long-term deal and a raise from his current salary of $2.3 million, not common for a player approaching 30. Also, under Serie A’s new rules, signing Donovan would prevent the club from recruiting any other non-European Union passport holding players over the course of next season.
However, should Roma acquire Donovan it will gain a considerable boost as the club would have arguably America’s most well-known soccer player on its roster. A fixture on the United States men’s national team, Donovan has made an impressive 130 appearances for the Stars and Stripes scoring 45 goals. The team would easily be able to market itself in North America and gain a sizable source of revenue in jersey sales.
Donovan reached the height of his celebrity during the 2010 World Cup where he scored the game winning goal against Algeria that advanced the U.S. past the group stages. After his return from the tournament, it appeared likely that Donovan would retire an MLS player considering that he turned down loan offers to return to the Premier League. Still, after Los Angeles won the Supporter’s Shield and failed to win the MLS Cup last season, Donovan appeared to be critical of the league’s playoff system.
Roma currently sits in sixth place in the Serie A. DiBenedetto has promised fans that he will return the team into contention for Italian championship and wants to add several key signings to help the club reach that target.
It will be interesting to see over the next few weeks whether or not DiBenedetto has a legitimate interest in bringing the popular American soccer star to Stadio Olimpico.
Alex Labidou is the Deputy Editor of Goal.com USA. Agree or disagree with the story above? Give him a shout @sportslab on twitter.
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