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The tricky timing on Landon Donovan’s looming decision

Nov 26, 2012, 10:50 AM EDT

Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy

By this time we should be used to Landon Donovan hinting that he’s not coming back.

But it’s still rings the news bell. And as the time for Donovan’s critical choice draws closer, each comment along these lines takes on additional weight.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, here’s what Donovan had to say – the latest indication that Saturday’s match at the Home Depot Center may, indeed, be his final match for the Galaxy or in general:

I’m going to take as much time as I need and decide if and when I’m ready to come back. I can’t put a time frame on that. If it takes two weeks and I’m ready to go again or two months or a year or two years.

“Or never. I don’t know.

“ … I’m aware of what I’m feeling, what I’m going through. And if I wake up one day and I say ‘you know what? I’m going to come back and play,’ then I’ll be here within an hour. If that doesn’t happen, if I wake up and I say ‘you know what? That’s enough,’ then I’ll let the people know who need to know and I’ll get on with my life.”

Here’s the issue with that, however: On the one hand, Donovan has earned the right to take his time in this critical matter. The U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer has given so to the game and to MLS.

But the Los Angeles Galaxy is on a different timetable. While coach Bruce Arena and officials from the AEG ownership group would surely like to provide Donovan all the time he needs, they may not have that luxury. The transfer window opens in January.

There is already one DP hole to fill, the one now belonging to David Beckham. If L.A. has two DP slots, it could certainly affect the club’s strategic thinking on how best to use those assets.

Having two holes means the Galaxy could use one on a marquee man (Frank Lampard, anyone?) and one on a mid-level man who checks the boxes in competitive matters but isn’t a marketing force.

Or, as we mentioned yesterday, Donovan’s decision could create DP ripples that make their way out to Omar Gonzalez. The price on keeping that 24-year-old defensive force will surely keep rising.

  1. mkbryant3 - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    How long does LD have remaining on his contract? One year? Maybe he takes a year off to heal and then goes on a free to a club of his choosing?

    • Steve Davis - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      Yup, one year remaining.

  2. iamjimmyjack - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    I’m bummed. I just became a soccer fan and now my two favorite players are leaving. Lame. At least win the championship for me!

  3. mkbryant3 - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Yo JJ, if that’s not sarcasm, then you are in luck. So many soccer personalities on the globe to get into. May I suggest Ibra, DeRo, or Miccoli!

    • krazymunky - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      ooooh balotelli, hes a striker, hes good at darts!

  4. slimjim774 - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Good Lord, what is Landon’s deal? Something significant has to be going on in his life.

  5. kaf39 - Nov 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    I hope he stays!

  6. cornet76 - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Whatever else he is, Donovan has always been very professional.

    So whenever that January deadline is I’m sure he’ll let the Galaxy know what they need to know.
    It is also possible this is an attempt by Landon to find a way to get out of his last year and force a move. If so I’m sure Landon learned somethng by watching Clint’s transfer circus, and hanging out with Beckham. How could he not? Don’t forget that Beckham went through all sorts of superhuman efforts to get to play for England in the World Cup one last time. It will be interesting to see what Landon took from that.

    Regardless, I hope he figures it out in time to get himself back in form for the World Cup. USMNT fans should not be so foolish as to think we do not need a motivated, in form Donovan.
    And if he really doesn’t want to do it any more, God bless him and I wish him all the best.

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