CARSON, Calif. – Now that Omar Gonzalez is wrapped up for the next three years, the LA Galaxy turn their focus to Landon Donovan, whose contract runs out at the end of the year and who has said he'll take his time before deciding where the future will take him.
“Landon's the Galaxy, and we want to keep him here – we make no secrets about that,” club president Chris Klein said after LA introduced Gonzalez as their third Designated Player on Thursday. “We want to keep him here, and we think he still has a lot to do in an LA Galaxy uniform. Not to say he hasn't accomplished an incredible amount, but knowing him like I do, I think he's driven for more.
“Where he personally is [in determining where to play in 2014], I don't know, but we certainly would love to have him here.”
Keeping Donovan, 31, would leave LA without a DP slot to bring in an overseas star next season unless MLS were to allow clubs a fourth or even a fifth DP.
Klein says there are “conversations about everything and ways to improve our game and improve our league” and says the Galaxy would support additional DP slots “if Mr. [Phil] Anschutz is supportive of that.”
“We've made a commitment, AEG and Mr. Anschutz has made a commitment, that we're comfortable committing resources to Designated Players, and we're going to continue to do that,” Klein said. “We always want more players of a higher caliber in our league.”
Donovan last week said he was “open to anything,” that he wants “to keep on enjoying myself, keep trying to play well, and we'll see what happens.” On Thursday, he said he was delighted with Gonzalez's promotion to a DP contact, the statement made by signing him, what it bodes for American soccer and the US national team.
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“I think it sends a very, very good message to all the players in our league that if you come through the ranks and play well, that you get rewarded,” Donovan said. “I hope there's more of that than clubs going out and signing foreigners. I'd much rather see American players that put in the work and helped build this league get rewarded.”
Americans receiving DP deals, he said, “means our national team is improving and soccer as a whole in this country is improving. Of course, you're going to have foreign influences. That's natural, and we've been beneficiaries of a lot of good foreign players, but you want to see American players do well, too.
“American players developed the right way – that means our coaching is getting better, our academies are getting better, we're developing players better, and in the long term, in my opinion, that is the only viable way to compete for a World Cup one day.”