Nov 252014

Landon Donovan has revealed he would have joined Everton on a permanent basis – if he hadn’t promised LA Galaxy he would return to the US.

The American forward spent two successful loan periods with the Blues in 2010 and 2012 and became a fans’ favourite at Goodison Park.

Donovan played 22 times across the two spells at Everton, scoring twice, and manager David Moyes wanted to turn his loan move into a full-time deal.

The former US international, who will retire at the end of the year, was keen on staying on Merseyside but said he had made a promise to LA Galaxy to return to play in the MLS at the end of his loan stint with the Blues.

“I’m a very loyal person. I had promised Tim [Leiweke, the former executive with A.E.G., which owns the Galaxy] when he was here and Bruce [Arena, the head coach] that I would come back, in exchange for letting me go there,” Donovan told the New York Times.

“And although things changed and they wanted me to stay, and there was a lot of potential talking to be done, immediately I said, ‘Thank you, but I promised that I would come back, and I want to go back.’”

Donovan also spent periods in Germany playing for Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich but struggled to make the impact he did in the Premier League with Everton.

“One, Everton’s not in Germany,” he said.

“The culture, it’s tough, but there are Americans who have done well. I wasn’t ready for it certainly when I was younger. The timing was right because I was playing probably at my best.

“David Moyes understood that club very well.

“He understood the dynamics of the fan base and how it all works, and what they like.

“And he was always very astute with his signings and he had to be because he didn’t have the money that the top clubs had.

“He watched me a lot.

“He was aware of what I did as a player and he knew that I would fit in. So all of that made for a really easy transition.

“I remember the first week I got to Everton, one of the old guys that played there — he was sort of a legend of the club — we had a quick conversation.

“He said: ‘I’ll just tell you one thing: if you work hard, if you run hard and give everything you have on the field, they will love you no matter what you do.’

“Not that people missed this, but I try to be a hard worker. Maybe it gets overlooked, but for me it was an opportunity to go, I’m going to run until I can’t do it anymore. And I loved it. Their passion and their energy was incredible for me to feel. It was just this perfect marriage.”

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