Landon Donovan Earning a Move Back To Europe Would Do Wonders for U.S. Soccer

Sean Hartnett@HartnettWFANCorrespondent IJune 28, 2010

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  Landon Donovan of Everton applauds the fans during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Hull City at Goodison Park on March 7, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With many top-level European clubs said to be vying for his signature, Landon Donovan could continue to raise the profile of the U.S. soccer by playing abroad.

His performances in South Africa have added further speculation that the 28-year-old could be waiving goodbye to the MLS and his Los Angeles Galaxy.

While on loan with Everton, Donovan changed his perception amongst major European clubs.  Previously, the American vice-captain struggled to catch on while with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich.  There he developed a reputation of not being able to cope with the demands that came with playing football on the highest level.  Donovan has since matured both personally and as a player.

As soon as he arrived at Goodison Park in January, Donovan quickly adapted to the Premier League as he put in a man-of-the-match performance on his EPL debut against Arsenal.  His perfectly delivered corner gave Everton the lead in the closely contested 2-2 draw and came close to scoring himself.

He was able to follow that up by contributing greatly in the next two following matches, an impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester City and a shocking 2-1 win over eventual Premier League winners Chelsea.  Donovan continued to put in top-rate performances against highly-regarded English clubs, erasing doubts of his ability to "cut it" away from the MLS.  None more noteworthy than assisting in a 3-1 demolition of Manchester United in February.

The American quickly became a cult-hero to the "blue side" of Liverpool as his No. 9 shirts were outselling long-time fan favorites Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta.  Even a group on Facebook urging the Toffees to keep Donovan has reached over 10,000 fans.

Everton manager David Moyes would be desperate to successfully bring Landon back to Goodison but there will be many top-tier clubs attempting to beat them to his signature.  Manchester City have been tracking Donovan all World Cup and Chelsea have been rumored to be interested.  If he feels that a move away from the MLS would be best for his career, there will certainly be no shortage of takers.

A move to Europe would surely be a blow to the MLS but Donovan could raise the profile of American soccer even more by moving abroad than he had with his superior displays during the World Cup in South Africa.  If Donovan could become a worldwide superstar while playing in one of Europe's top leagues, he would inspire the next wave of young Americans towards a career in the MLS as opposed to aspiring towards a future in the NBA or NFL.

Ultimately, the quality of the MLS would increase greatly as would the chances of the U.S. National team winning a World Cup if one of ours could make it big "over there."