Landon Donovan has been granted a work-permit that will allow him to join up with Everton on 2nd January. Under the terms of the loan agreement, Donovan will remain at Goodison Park until mid-March in a deal similar to the one that has seen David Beckham move to Milan. But what kind of impact can Donovan really have in such a short spell of time in the Premier League.
Donovan plays as an attacking midfielder on either flank or as a second striker; his addition to the Everton squad will be received well given their current injury nightmare. Donovan’s main successes have come in the MLS and for his national team; he was named the MLS’s Most Valuable Player of 2009 and is his country’s all-time leading goalscorer and is also top of the all-time assists charts. A record of 42 goals in 120 international appearances suggests that he is a player of substantial quality.
The vice-captain of the USA side, he has played in Europe before; Donovan has had stints in Germany with both Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich but found it difficult to adapt and ultimately failed to find his best form in the Bundesliga. His time at Leverkusen was an abysmal failure and he only made 7 league appearances in 4 years as he spent most of his time on loan at the San Jose Earthquakes forging a reputation in the MLS. This time last season he made a similar loan move to German giants, Bayern Munich, but he once again failed to impress as he only made 6 substitute league appearances and Bayern opted against extending the loan. It was a fairly humiliating experience for Donovan who is a relatively big star in the USA and this latest move to Everton may be his final opportunity to show that he is capable of succeeding in one of Europe’s top leagues.
As his international record suggests, Donovan is a good finisher; he strikes the ball cleanly and has good composure in front of goal. He is also a fine passer of the ball and shows good intelligence on the ball to pick out his teammates. He is quick over the ground and showed in the recent Confederations Cup that he has the quality to hurt defenders of the highest quality as he netted against Brazil and Italy during the tournament. There will be a great deal of interest in the American when he arrives on Merseyside, and it will be an intriguing sub-plot if he turns out to be the catalyst that kick-starts Everton’s rise up the table. His history suggests that he will struggle playing against clubs of a higher standard but if he is able to play as he does for the USA, then Donovan may finally be able to prove his doubters wrong.