In a twisted bit of irony, Landon Donovan could be leaving Major League Soccer shortly after Clint Dempsey's arrival in the league.
A source close to the Los Angeles Galaxy and United States star revealed to Goal that the 31-year-old has received serious interest from European clubs and is evaluating his options at this stage. Donovan has had prior brief stints on the continent with Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Everton. With less than six months remaining on his current MLS deal, Donovan is free to sign with any club outside of the league on a pre-contract.
"I can share with you that multiple clubs in multiple European countries [have reached out to Donovan]," the source told Goal.
It is speculated that after spending eight years in MLS, winning every conceivable accolade, Donovan is strongly considering a new challenge. The source pointed to Donovan's recent comments at the MLS All-Star game as a sign of where he's at.
"As Landon said in KC this week, he is feeling great physically and mentally and from a club standpoint he is open to anything now," the source added.
Donovan was very non-committal about his MLS future when he spoke with Goal in May.
"I'm just trying to get through tomorrow," Donovan said to Goal.
Considering MLS's recent focus to recruit American stars back to the league, there is still a possibility that he could re-sign with Los Angeles. Donovan is on the wrong side of 30 and MLS can likely give him a lengthier contract than any other suitors from abroad, especially Europe. Still, there are some barriers.
Despite Donovan's stellar form in Gold Cup where he saw his stock rise thanks to five goals and six assists in six games, his performances this season in Los Angeles this season haven't been at his usual high standard.
Factor in that he will likely want a contract similar to Dempsey's at the Sounders and contemplated retirement just last year, and the Galaxy may be reluctant to give Donovan a lucrative long-term commitment. And that could force Donovan's exit.
Donovan's potential decision to move to Europe could also see him solidify a starting spot with the national team. Soccer by Ives reported that head coach Jurgen Klinsmann isn't happy with Dempsey's decision to return to MLS and if Donovan were to secure a move to a top club abroad, it could further repair his sometimes tenuous relationship with the national team manager.
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