Kick Off: All eyes on Donovan's EPL return today

Looking for a clue as to whether LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan will start for Everton in his return to the English Premier League club this afternoon?

"He has settled in very quickly, so we look forward to getting him in the game and seeing how he does," Everton manager David Moyes told the English press ahead of the match against Bolton Wanderers (3 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).

Invariably, the comparisons will be made to Fulham’s American goal scorer Clint Dempsey, who hopes to get to a bigger club when his contract expires in the summer of 2012: “You never know your road in life, but, hopefully, Champions League is in the cards for me,” Dempsey says.

Another player who might join them is LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane. He's been a reported loan target of Aston Villa for a week now, but today we learn that his former club Celtic might challenge for his signature. At the end of this article, the Galaxy’s owners confirmed that the club would consider granting the loan “only if Robbie wants to do it.”

Meanwhile, Villa manager Alex McLeish is reportedly putting his foot down, setting “a deadline for the end of the week” for the Keane situation to be resolved. 

It all makes for a busy offseason for AEG’s Tim Leiweke, who is confident the Galaxy can reach an agreement with David Beckham to prolong his stay with the club. But there is apparently competition for Beckham’s signature and “the added complication that David has the right to purchase a franchise in this league.”

Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz knows what it’s like to manage a franchise in MLS. He had enough belief in the Philadelphia market that, “I financed the first four months on my AMEX. This year, we will be a $20 million business. I had a lot of faith. And a lot of people had trust in me.”

There is blind faith in what Thierry Henry’s loan spell can do for Arsenal. Although there is still no official word from the New York Red Bulls, Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is impatient: "Hopefully everything will be done and confirmed as soon as possible, because we need him."

Reports in England claim that the date for Henry’s return to New York is the main snag. Apparently the Red Bulls want him back by Feb. 20, while Arsenal want him to play against Tottenham on Feb. 26.

San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski hopes Jurgen Klinsmann wants him back after January camp. And Wondo has a chip on his shoulder, namely that miss against Panama last summer: “It’s bothered me quite a bit, that miss in front of goal. I still replay it in my mind quite often and I would love to make amends, especially if it was against Panama.”

Back in San Jose, a new “wrinkle” has been introduced in the club’s plans for a new stadium. A neighborhood association has appealed the decision to grant a permit for a new 18,000-seat stadium. “We remain convinced we have a good plan,” says the Quakes president.

According to multiple reports in Denver, the plan at the Colorado Rapids is to hire former FC Dallas assistant and current academy director Oscar Pareja as head coach. FC Dallas apparently declined to comment on whether Pareja was still with the team.

Sporting Kansas City fans will be watching Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic qualifying efforts with interest as Daneil Cyrus, who was sidelined for most of 2011 due to injury, is working on his fitness with his country’s U-23 side.

The same article indicates that the Seattle Sounders, who signed left back Marc Burch on Tuesday, have four Trinidadian Olympic prospects from local side W Connection involved in the combine they organized there, a tryout managed by assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson.

Staying in the Caribbean, Jamaican central defender Dicoy Williams talks about the relief of being offered a new contract by Toronto FC before the holiday break, despite the fact that he missed most of 2011 with torn knee ligaments.

Williams will have competition in TFC training camp. Salvadoran defender Víctor Turcios is reportedly set to join the Canadian side for preseason training. (SPANISH)

In international news, ex-D.C. United forward Charlie Davies looks set to finish the European season with French club Sochaux, according to reports from France. But fans who used to know him as “CD9” should note the switch to “CD12.” That’s his new jersey number. (FRENCH)

US national team fans will find this Reuters interview with USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann an interesting read. He says that he wants the USA to be able to compete against the world powers toe-to-toe: “We want to get closer to playing with them instead of just defending and hoping for a counter.”

In addition to Donovan’s match in the EPL today, fans can catch Newcastle United vs. Manchester United (3 pm ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes) as the Red Devils look to keep up the chase of leaders Manchester City. There’s also Copa del Rey action on ESPN Deportes with Real Sociedad vs. Mallorca (2 pm ET) and Barcelona vs. Osasuna (4 pm ET).

The ties between the United States and the English Premier League continue to grow. Find out how the USA will play a big part in whether Tottenham and Liverpool can get new stadiums built.

In England there’s plenty of talk about Beckham’s new underwear collection for H&M and specifically his modeling of the newest items to hit the shelves. (PHOTOS)

Lastly, we’ve shown you comical stretcher clips before. This one, somehow also from Brazil, reaches a new low. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Breaking down Beckham’s future with The Sporting News’ Brian Straus on ExtraTime Radio

Sounders DP Fernández could move to a central role in 2012

Herculez Gomez makes a dream debut for Santos Laguna


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