Wednesday Lunch: Donovan to AS Roma?

Posted: May 18, 2011 in mls, serie a, soccer, sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Evan Ream

According to reports, Landon Donovan could be on his way to Italian giant AS Roma. Roma, who will likely finish in sixth place in Serie A this season and claim a spot in the Europa League, would be a huge step up for Donovan. This rumor is gaining steam around the internet; it seems to be more legitimate than Clint Dempsey’s proposed move to PSG. Roma have just been bought by American businessman Thomas R. DiBenedetto, who apparently has his eyes set on buying an American, with Donovan topping the list. The question once again is: would this be a good move for Landon Donovan? Let’s examine the pros and cons:

Pros:

Playing at a higher level – Serie A is unquestionably a better league than MLS. AS Roma is a better and more prestigious team than the LA Galaxy. Landon would be training every day with Danielle De Rossi and Francesco Totti, both members of Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning team. Though Donovan has probably already peaked as a player, playing at a higher level would probably help keep him sharp in time for one last run at the 2014 World Cup. Playing at Roma would also be a step up from Everton. If he could break into the squad there, he would further cement his legacy as the best American field player of all time.

Trailblazing – As I mentioned in the Dempsey article, it would be good for an American player (sorry Benedict Arnold… I mean Giuseppe Rossi doesn’t count) to play at a high level in a country where not a lot of Americans play. Because of Serie A’s tactical repertoire, I would love to see more Americans playing there. Donovan could set a trend that many Americans would follow and benefit from. This really isn’t that much of a pro for Donovan, but for American soccer in general.

Gaining a better tactical sense – Speaking of Serie A’s tactical repertoire, playing on one of these teams would clearly benefit Donovan. There really isn’t much more to it than that.

Cons:

Wear and tear – If the 29-year-old Donovan was playing more and at a higher level, it is possible that he could break down sooner. Donovan has been very fortunate in avoiding major injury throughout his career, but moving at this point could cause him to break down and not be a force at the 2014 World Cup which I would assume is his ultimate goal.

Wait, that’s the only con I can think of – Can we make this happen? Please? Please, please, please? Since I can’t think of any more reasons why this would be bad, how about a few reasons why this won’t happen:

Richard Motzkin  – Donovan’s agent released a statement on twitter today saying “Appreciate the interest, but why would @landondonovan leave MLS for the same salary?” In addition to being another reason why agents have no soul, that statement makes things more complicated for Roma. Donovan is 29; Roma would likely need to pay a $15 million dollar transfer fee for a player who may be past his prime, and then increase his wages that are already over $2 million a year.

Donovan’s non-European Union status – According to new Serie A rule (if I’m interpreting this correctly), if Roma were to sign Donovan, then they wouldn’t be able to sign any other non-EU players until the next transfer window. Something tells me that Roma can use their money more wisely and sign a better non-EU player. Then again, the new owner wants an American so even if it’s the wrong decision they could still do it.

Landon Donovan – Does Donovan even want to go? He has the right to say no; I don’t think MLS would ever sell him if he wanted to stay. Donovan has yet to comment on the subject, and I have a feeling that he is happy living where he is and feels content about his previous European expedition (to Everton). Donovan himself could prevent this move to happen.

I would love to see this move; perhaps more than any other move that has been proposed for an American player in the recent future. If this were to happen, it would actually give me a reason to follow Serie A and the Europa League. That being said, I don’t think this is a move that NEEDS to happen. Donovan has shown that he can rise to the occasion regardless of what league he is playing in. Ultimately we only care about what happens at the 2014 World Cup and he will be there in 2014 and perform well in 2014 regardless of what team he is playing for. Still, it would be fun to see this happen, wouldn’t it?

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