Without a decent explanation, I think it’s time we talk about why I believe that Landon Donovan is really coming back.
I am a Los Angeles transplant, like most of you reading this, and I have grown to love the one and only Los Angeles MLS club Galaxy. Unlike the European teams I love and also cherish, the Galaxy is normally my emotional rock. We win a bunch of games, fight through the playoffs, and even lift the trophy on occasion.
Even when LA Galaxy take a loss, I always feel like they had a plan or provided themselves a great chance to succeed. Over the last few weeks, I haven’t felt like we have a plan or are in control of our own destiny this season.
Right now, almost every LA Galaxy fan is jumping for joy that Landon Donovan is back in his new #26 jersey and I cannot help but think this is a huge marketing/money move from the LA Galaxy. I am still a little bitter about him “abandoning” the team at the start of the 2014 season and him just arriving with games left before our playoff run doesn’t make me feel much better about him at the moment. Here are my 7 reasons he is really returning.
1. THE MARKETING MACHINE
First and foremost I think LA Galaxy is the dynamo club in marketing inside the MLS. With marquee signings such as Beckham, Keane, and Gerrard the Galaxy are always on top of conversations about the league. Well, everyone is talking about the LA Galaxy right now and it sure has nothing to do with the horrible form they are presenting on the pitch.
2. PAPERING OVER THE CRACKS
In case you guys forgot, the LA Galaxy are 1-4-1 across the last six MLS matches and also have a home loss to FC Dallas at StubHub Center mixed into those results. I don’t see how introducing Landon Donovan is going to help turn this ship around. This seems to me like, hey, the season is over so let’s dangle the Donovan carrot in front of you fans so you forgot how mismanaged our team was this year.
3. THE MONEY
While I cannot make much sense of this on the pitch, I do see the huge financial gain from the LA Galaxy corporate office. Landon Donovan is now sporting #26 so line up for the jersey sales and the media is ablaze with his grand return.
4. TICKET SALES
Looking at ticket sales, home games are looking pretty nice on StubHub right now. I had an extra season ticket for the Columbus Crew game that sold for less than $10 to someone (ouch). The lowest I ever had to discard a ticket for since I became a season ticket holder or had ever seen for a weekend game. I don’t monitor prices enough or have enough data to imply much but my section for Orlando FC is over $20 for the cheapest ticket. That is a solid 100% price difference from two home games. You can bet if Donovan’s home game debut is announced that they will go for a pretty penny.
5. HE IS DE JONG GONE
The whole De Jong debacle is probably another article I need to write entirely but if you read Bruce Arena’s comments he sure didn’t seem that excited to see De Jong go. Go look at the video of De Jong arriving in Turkey. Does that look like the face of a happy player? The guy has a house in Encino for crying out loud. De Jong was our second best defender this season. Nigel De Jong played in two World Cups (finished 2nd and 3rd) not to mention FA Cup, Community Shield, and a Premier League winner to boot. We sent him packing for ZERO dollars and an offensive video published by MLS. (link to offensive video) I think the team needed some positive momentum or buzz after slipping him out the back door to Istanbul under the cloak of night on transfer deadline day.
6. TAM MONEY
This one gets complicated but Nigel De Jong was signed in February of 2016 using TAM or targeted allocation money given by the MLS. Well, he didn’t finish his season so does LA Galaxy get back the TAM money unused or did we pay out De Jong’s yearly contract in full? The public will probably never know but this seems like an easy way to slide Landon Donovan in. The counter argument to that could be found here in the MLS murky rules stating that if TAM money goes unused in 2016 then it can roll into the 2017 season. Keep in mind however, each club is given $1,600,000 for the two seasons of 2016/2017 but all unused TAM money at the end of 2017 is owed back to MLS.
7. THE FEAR OF LAFC
I don’t even want to address Chivas Hollywood or whatever they want to call this club nowadays but part of me thinks De Jong was sent to Turkey because he was set to take up a DP spot next season. I think the Galaxy are really feeling the need to make another Beckham like unveiling at StubHub Center to pipe down the hype train of the Hollywood owned football club with no players. We can only assume LAFC will be putting some financial muscle into DP signings as well. I haven’t even really considered the reality he might play for LA Galaxy in the 2017 MLS season but I guess that is a possibility. I don’t see him contributing much for the Galaxy in our final six games but I guess he has a possible shout for next year? I will be the first to call myself a cynic and accept if Donovan does help push LA Galaxy to greater heights this year and that I was dead wrong on my outlook here. The only winners I see right now for this season in this deal is AEG.
I haven’t even really considered the reality he might play for LA Galaxy in the 2017 MLS season but I guess that is a possibility. I don’t see him contributing much for the Galaxy in our final seven games but I guess he has a possible shout for next year? I will be the first to call myself a cynic and accept if Landon Donovan does help push LA Galaxy to greater heights this year and that I was dead wrong on my outlook here. The only winners I see right now for this season in this deal is AEG.