For a few weeks, at least, Bayern Munich and MLS have been discussing what might be done with
This follows a 10-day trial/training trip/visit by which Bayern and Donovan sampled each other, and presumably by now, Donovan knows how strongly he wants to move to Europe, or specifically, Germany, despite two unhappy stints with Bayer Leverkusen.
His age, 26, and the Los Angeles Galaxy's dreary failure to reach the playoffs the past two seasons are weighing on his mind, not to mention the league's implementation of the Designated Player option, by which certain teams pay players a lot more money than Donovan earns to do a lot less.
Still not known is what Bayern will do with
If it gets Donovan on loan, Bayern doesn't need to sell Podolski, either to clear a spot on the depth chart or generate funds it could use to purchase Donovan's rights. It would intensify competition between the two for playing time vacated by starting strikers
This works out sweetly for Bayern, but what about MLS and the Galaxy? Coach
Whatever benefits Donovan might receive from tougher competition in Bayern training sessions and matches would be offset by fatigue and increased chances of injury flying back and forth across the Atlantic for qualifiers and other national-team commitments, should his stay extend beyond mid-March. By his own admission -- and evidence of the past few years backs this up -- he doesn't travel well. And if he's unable to garner regular playing time, a distinct possibility, there won't be much of that competition anyway.
This being Southern California, where entertainment is reality and vice versa, the Donovan saga wouldn't be complete without rumors that his wife, actress
Don't discount the home life of a star soccer player as it affects decisions. Periodically, Barcelona attacker
Great wads of ambiguity are great for speculation and blog hits, but again, reduce MLS in stature -- though not to the extent of the Beckham Do-it-Yourself Clandestine Loan Caper, timed closely to the Previously Unacknowledged and Publicly Denied Three-Year Beckham Bailout Blockbuster.
MLS has kowtowed to Donovan long enough. It bought him back after a flop at Leverkusen on his terms: a spot with the Galaxy, a no-trade clause and, at the time, a higher salary than anybody in the league. If he insists on leaving, which is certainly within reason, MLS should declare negotiations open and invite Bayern, or any other team, to pay it. Donovan still would need to negotiate a salary and retain the right to reject a transfer to a team he didn't want to join.
Hard as it is to sell a valuable asset and a phenomenal player, MLS should insist on a transfer, not bandy about loan terms and fees and buy-backs and reciprocal arrangements. The league and Donovan should make a decision, and stick to it. For a change.