Date: 23rd July 2009 at 6:59pm
Written by:

Vital Latics regular and US based Wigan Athletic fan Fly Eagles Fly gives us his opinion on why we should make Landon Donovan a priority for the Martinez revolution, lets hear his argument, over to you FEF:

A couple years back, I was convinced that the Latics should make a move for Landon Donovan. I talked myself out of it, but with the present circumstances surrounding Donovan and the Latics it would seem like a move could end up being a very good low-risk, high-reward opportunity for us to try and take (plus the Aussies had their Josh Kennedy threads going for a while, I figure I might as well be able to throw a thread about this up (haha). Let me explain:

He’s the disputed best player (only 5-time player of the year ever), and the undisputed best outfielder, on a US national team that despite being mostly filled with MLS and lower-quality European teams has been the dominant team in CONCACAF in recent history. This includes having a leg up on Mexico, who always have a handful of guys in top European leagues (including current representatives of Arsenal, Barca, Spurs, and other top flight German and Spanish clubs).

He plays striker and attacking mid. So we could fill one of our backup striker slots and get a great starter at winger or second striker at the same time. Very much two birds with one stone.

MLS players are relatively inexpensive because of the lower quality of the league, the highest fee the league has ever gotten for a player was $10m (about £6m at the current exchange rate) for a teenage Jozy Altidore and for a 27 year old Donovan I would expect that to be the absolute highest fee that MLS could demand.

Not that we’d need to put down £6m to start with. MLS has shown their hand on the matter and would doubtlessly accept a loan with intent to buy.

His two previous moves to Europe did not work out quite as well but it’s not as if he’s gotten five chances in every major European league like Mido has. Rather, his first European move was one to Leverkusen as a teenager where he did not get much of a chance in the first team, did not settle in Germany and wanted to return to the USA.

His second move was a recent loan to Bayern where he likewise did not get much of a chance in the first team and the club elected not to sign him permanently, citing a desire to invest in younger players instead.

He’s stated that he wants to play in the Premier League.

Wigan looks like one of the most ideal places for him to move to, it seems to be a much more low-pressure footballing environment than most other places in Europe, a factor which has contributed to the success of other players such as Bramble, while still offering a very high quality of football as we showed last year.

In addition, the native language is English, which is something that should really not be discounted for an American footballer moving to Europe.

Additionally, he wouldn’t walk into the team by any means but if he put in the effort he would more than likely get consistent first-team football. That’s something he’s yet to be given in Europe.

Easiest work permit in the world, 115 caps at 27 and he scores for fun for club and country.

If we do manage to bring him in, think about the line-up that starts to take shape with his arrival. I’m thinking something like:

N’Zogbia Koumas Donovan
Cattermole Thomas
Figueroa Bramble Boyce Melchiot

That is an absolutely mouth-watering amount of sheer talent at attacking mid and the d-mids, if Thomas plays to the potential we’ve heard about aren’t exactly bad either. If these guys gel under Martinez’ system we could end up with a midfield that any team in Europe would be jealous of.

It would be a brilliant business move (as well as a very low-risk one if it’s on a season-long loan). Sheer population numbers mean that there’s a lot of marketing potential in the states, and buying the US’ best player would be a hell of a way to put the Latics on the map.

If we’re going to play with one striker we’ll need goals from other places and Donovan has a career scoring record of about a goal every two games for club and country, despite rarely playing as an out-and-out striker.

So yeah, looks like a decent chance to take, doesn’t it?

By Fly Eagles Fly

Vital Latics re-design is now complete and to celebrate our new look we have spurred no expense, seriously, in bringing you a free to enter competition, though it is for Vital members only, with the winning prize the fantastic ‘Book of Football Quotations` by Phil Shaw.

Sunday Telegraph
‘Truly a must … it can make you laugh or cry`

The book is jam packed full of, yep you guessed it quotations about football and the personalities from down the years and makes for good easy reading and it is a great coffee table companion.

Amazon Review

To win a copy simply email us here at Vital Latics and mark the subject Book Comp, leave your name, address to post the book to if you win, your Vital username, if you`re not a member then sign up now , and the answer to the following:

Paul Jewell famously remarked ‘Going forward we looked like world beaters, but at the back, we looked like ______ _____’

a) Egg beaters
b) Panel beaters
c) Meat eaters
d) Pie Eaters

Enter by clicking here

Good luck

The winner will be the first correct entry chosen out of the ‘hat’ following the competition closing date

Competition closing date 5pm July 31st 2009

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