Should he stay or should he go now? Landon Donovan’s days at Everton almost up

More English fare in Donovan's days ahead? We'll see ...

Landon Donovan’s 10-week loan spell at Everton has unfolded famously. His run for the grateful EPL side, surely a watershed in Donovan's career, is nearly done and the American attacker is scheduled to re-join the Los Angeles Galaxy next week.

Everyone around Everton wants him to hang out a bit longer, keeping his address in Liverpool -- not far from Penny Lane and the abandoned orphanage at Strawberry Fields -- for as long as possible. 

In one regard, I understand the desire around Everton to hold onto Landon Donovan past this weekend’s trip to Birmingham. The reasons have been well documented; he’s been all that and a bag of crispy chips.

But let’s spin this puppy around, look at it from 180 degrees t’other side and see what we may see: Fact is, in the most practical sense, I’m not sure why Everton is so kickin’ keen on keeping the lad.

Donovan has proven his ability as EPL-worthy, that’s not in doubt. But how much can he realistically effect movement in the table at this point?

Everton currently sits 9th in the EPL table The Toffees would need to make up seven points on Liverpool to gain sixth place and a spot in Europa League play for 2010-11. Impossible? No. Improbable? Si.

However you slice it, David Moyes’ men would need one hell-bent, audacious run to challenge for any of the six spots that will cinch European competition for next year.

Meanwhile, splendid form since early January has escorted Everton safely beyond the scary forest where relegation monsters live. The world would practically have to end in order for Everton to approach relegation danger. (Even if Everton lost all 10 of its remaining matches, it would probably still be OK.)

Plus, Moyes’ side is now stripping a few names off the injury list; that bustling infirmary was the very reason Everton so badly needed a stop-gap presence like Donovan in the first place. So such a tragic collapse is all but impossible.

The odds are stacked highly that Everton will finish right where it’s at, in the cluster of mid-pack teams, undecorated perhaps, but cushioned from the concussion of relegation explosions below.

So … Is it really so necessary to keep Donovan, a man who didn’t even start the Toffees last two EPL matches? (A little birdie in Everton told me Donovan was fighting through some illness last week, which contributed to Moyes’ choice not to start Donovan in his Goodison Park farewell.)

It seems clear that he will do more for the Los Angeles Galaxy than he will do for Everton going forward.

I can just see some people now, huffing and puffing at that statement, getting their snobby shorts in a terrible twist over such sacrilege. How could I even draw a comparison between MLS and EPL?

Here’s how: I know a lot of people out there don’t respect MLS and wouldn’t cross the street to throw a cup of water on an MLS player if he was on fire. Whatever.

But the fact is, some people do have an interest in the league. Some supporters consider what happens in MLS important. To wit: the league will kick off on March 25. The Galaxy debuts two nights later. Bruce Arena’s team may be the reigning league runner-up, but without Donovan or David Beckham, it’s a fairly tame lot.

In fact, it’s probably not a very god team. Bruce Arena did a lot in 2009 to instill organization on the field and a healthy esprit de corps off it.

But without Donovan or Beckham, any Galaxy game is a scoreless draw waiting to happen.

And if you are a Galaxy season ticket holder, having spent your hard-earned cash in a day that plenty of people don’t have much of it, how happy are you that neither of the personnel heavyweights are around? No disrespect to Alan Gordon, but he’s not selling many seats at the HDC these days.

Clearly, ongoing labor discord is the wildcard here. If there aren’t any matches to play here, Donovan is better served by remaining in England. But if the suits can get things sorted out, he serves a better purpose in MLS.

Now, as for Donovan re-joining Everton on a permanent basis in the summer transfer window …. that’s an entirely different debate.

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