English soccer reporters are starved prisoners. They’re chained by the same news-making demands as American journalists with far less access. When they receive any nugget of hard news it gets amplified and distorted to the point of absurdity. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini started a rumpus yesterday, allegedly claiming the club might be interested in Landon Donovan. To those hoping he moves abroad, don’t get too excited.
Here is the quotation. Mancini is asked specifically about Donovan. He responds “Donovan is a good player. Could be possible.” Man City scouted Donovan at the World Cup. They are perhaps the only European club bad enough to want him and wealthy enough to afford him. The comment, however, suggests plausible, not definite interest. He’s probably a backup option, should they not complete their $40 to $45 million deal for James Milner (absolutely insane).
Even if Man City want him and MLS, who explicitly said no, agreed, it’s not a no-brainer move for Donovan. David Moyes stuck him straight into the lineup at Everton. At Man City he would fight for a place with newly signed Spain star David Silva, Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Carlos Tevez can play there as well. The only times in his career Donovan has competed for a spot where his stints in Germany. It didn’t go well.
MLS’ ideal scenario is a Los Angeles-New York MLS Cup final with Beckham, Donovan, Henry and the third Red Bull DP (most likely Rafa Marquez). It would be the two biggest markets and stars to appeal to a casual audience and every significant soccer fan base. It’s hard to see the Galaxy letting Donovan go without a marquee star (Ronaldinho?) to replace him. getting that organized before the MLS window closes on August 14. It will be hard for Landon to leave for Europe and, if it does happen, it most likely will be after the MLS season.