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Reports: AC Milan headline Serie A clubs chasing Landon Donovan

Aug 21, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT

Championship - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Getty Images

About a day after Landon Donovan revealed he would consider a move abroad, clubs in one of Europe’s top leagues are after him.

Donovan, 31, spoke about his future earlier this week as his current contract with Major League Soccer is set to run out in January 2014.

Serie A sides Genoa, Sassulo and Hellas Verona have all made their interest clear to Donovan’s camp, while European giants AC Milan are also intrigued by Donovan’s situation. Milan are said to want a deal this summer but Donovan will likely stay in MLS until January.

It seems as if the LA Galaxy attacker will certainly have plenty of options if he does decide to leave MLS for Europe. But despite all this interest from European giants, which league or which club would suit Donovan best?

Milan could well be in the Champions League and boast a whole array of attacking talent, with Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng leading the way. But would Donovan’s style of play suit the Italian league? I think so. More so than the Premier League, at this point of his career.

(MORE: Are their hints of Landon Donovan leaving MLS?)

Don’t get me wrong, whatever league Donovan joins he would do well. Class is permanent. But if he did leave MLS, playing in Italy or maybe Spain would suit his style of play more. Quick one-two’s and a possession based game would allow him to get on the ball and dictate games.

The Premier League has become more and more physical in recent years, and I struggle to see Donovan keeping up with the pace of the current incarnation of the PL. Donovan had adapted his game to suit his age and how he can best manipulate the situations, he’s still quick over the first 10-15 yards but the pace of England’s top-flight is relentless.

So what options would he have in the PL? Maybe Everton where he was on loan in 2010 and 2012, as he won plenty of friends. And what about a reunion with David Moyes at Manchester United? Now that would be something. And aren’t we forgetting that despite Donovan’s stellar Gold Cup campaign this summer, his place in Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad is by no means guaranteed.

Not at all.

So a move to a big European team or league would certainly help boost Donovan’s chances of making the plane to Brazil. Klinsmann would be a huge fan of seeing Donovan in Europe. But is all this transfer talk a bit ‘pie in the sky?’ Well, if Milan is linked with Donovan, why not United?

Between now and the end of the MLS season, a potential new destination for Donovan will likely arrive every day. This is just the start of it.

Serie A, AC Milan, maybe a move back to England… Not bad for a player many chucked on the scrapheap after his self-imposed sabbatical last offseason.

  1. bayoor75 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Let’s not kid ourselves, AC Milan is NOT intrigued! Donovan should not get carried away because he dominated CONCACAF teams! Maybe the smaller serie A clubs. Who is he going to displace at Milan? Prince Boateng? El Sharaawy? Niang? Robinho? Montolivo? I don’t think so! It will be a mistake for both parties – Milan and Donovan.

    • jdfsquared - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Would he fit at Milan? Maybe not. But with respect, I think Donovan deserves better than stale CONCACAF derision. Nor is he carried away. He’s a businessman weighing options. His career and current form prove he’s top class.

      He also provides evidence that top class players can thrive in MLS, but thereby hangs another tale.

      • gcarini1985 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        As a Milan fan… we already have all our forwards. El Shaarawy, Niang, Balotelli… and Robinho is coming back soon too. Pazzini should be back in October. He would not get playing time under Allegri who has his favorites.

  2. drewvt6 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    I’m sure for the right price, IF Milan gets into the group stages of the CL they’d love to add someone like Donovan. However, with Keisuke Honda also coming in in January the move doesn’t make a lot of sense for Donovan in a WC year.

  3. 77cjh77 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    “Quick one-two’s and a possession based game would allow him to get on the ball and dictate games.”

    except that’s not really his style. the quick one-twos, yes. but his biggest asset is speed on the counter, down the wings, and getting in behind defenders. slowing up play has never been a big part of his game

    • Dan Haug - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Actually… if you had watched him play with the LA Galaxy the last two and a half years, and with the USMNT in the Gold Cup, you would know that his primary position has been as a withdrawn forward, or attacking central midfielder. He gets all over the pitch from that position, but he’s been creating a ton of scoring opportunities with those quick passes.

      That said… he still can run the counter attack better than any other US player.

  4. jdfsquared - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    It seems incredibly unlikely that Donovan is considering Europe as a way to boost his national team prospects, or that it’s even part of his thinking. It’s just simply not necessary for him, despite recent events. He’s on the plane to Brazil, and I just can’t see any doubts to that as anything but smokescreen meant to manufacture suspense.

    Also, I hope he goes (or stays) where he wants to be. But if it’s MLS or PL, I can watch him every week. Anything else is a loss for us in that regard.

    • mikeevergreen - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      He’s not doing it for that. He’s considering Europe now because he wants to do a season or two against the best.

  5. gcarini1985 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I am a Milan fan. Why on earth would we want Landon Donovan? This guy has like 4 goals in Europe in all the failed stints he had in Europe. We rather sign Adem Ljajic or Keisuke Honda… who are far more promising and simply are better players.

    • jdfsquared - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      One failed stint at 17, two successful ones at Everton. Four MLS Cups, USA’s best all-time player. Mature, still in his prime. Maybe you’ll het Honda, but don’t be too quick to dismiss the American.

      • gcarini1985 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        He didn’t do well in Germany. Take for example his time at Bayern in 2009. He wouldn’t fit into our team and he wouldn’t get playing time at Milan. Even if we don’t sign Honda, where would Donovan fit into our formation? This article failed to mention Niang and Robinho… who are also favored by Allegri.

        Personally I think Donovan would be better off going to Roma.

      • mikeevergreen - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

        Ahhh, now you mention Rooooma, GC. Put him with Michael (knees) Bradley & Danny (elbows) De Rossi. Nasty…

  6. hildezero - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Roma would be better for him. The owners are Americans. There’s an American already in that team. If Roma has a player that old like Totti, than why not go after LD?

  7. mdac1012 - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    As I said in an earlier article about this, I really doubt any “big” European team is coming in for a 31-32 year old MLS player. This is about the age, top European players start to think about going to MLS, not the other way around. Maybe a team toward the bottom of the standings in one of the European leagues gives him a deal? Even then, he is not getting a long term deal from any team not in MLS.

    Guys keep talking about the money he could make in Europe. Maybe short term, but he could get a 5 year deal from the Galaxy for Dempsey money, which is something he is never seeing from a team in Europe.

  8. tomcatfl - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    His earlier European trips didn’t pan out well, but he got good reviews at Everton, which is his most recent trip. His earlier Bundesliga stops are pretty much irrelevant. That being said, he’s not a lock to start on a CL-quality club in the big four European leagues – he’s very good, but he’s not *that* good just because he’s the best American so far in a field position.

    MLS is alot better than 10 years ago, but it’s still nowhere on par with those leagues, so being a star in the league doesn’t make him a lock in Europe, either. I think he could count on starting for some of the mid-table PL teams, *if* he fits a need.

  9. nbcrollaround - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    Donovan did well to have interest from Bayer at age 17. He was still at IMG at the time.
    Bayer had 3-4 coaches while Donovan was under contract.
    Coming back to MLS and being sent to San Jose was the best thing that ever happened to him.
    He tore it up and became a household name at a young age.
    Bayer called him back over for senior team duty and screwed him over again.
    Donovan was one of the stars in The Germany world cup at 18 yrs old.
    Good fortunes by Khan and an unseen handball kept the US from advancing past the country he was a “failure” in.
    After all of these “failures” – then manager of Bayern Munich (Jurgen Klinsmann) called him over for a bit.
    So the best team in Germany, also one of the best in Europe call on Donovan for a trial and hes a “failure”.
    He then comes back to MLS, is sent to Galaxy, scores 100 goals for them and is sitting on 100 goals for the US National team. What a failure.
    He would do just fine at Roma or Milan, but I would rather him stay in MLS.

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