Report: AS Roma Wants Donovan. Badly


Photo by Mark W.

Often I view the end of the European soccer season as a silly time, because every player with any talent (and some without) are rumored to be acquired by one club or another.  This speculation extends to MLS because the league has shown that it is capable of developing talent and playing a high level of soccer.  This is a long way of saying that I think most of the stuff I read on the Internet regarding transfers is trash.

But I can believe this story.’s Alex Labidou is reporting that AS Roma is set on acquiring Landon Donovan from the LA Galaxy this summer.  The story is based on a rumor contained in the Italian paper Corriere dello Sport.  I Giallorossi are sixth in Serie A and ownership has pledged to its fans that the team will overhaul with a goal of contending for a scudetto.  That owner is Thomas DeBenedetto, an American businessman who recently purchased the club.

What would Donovan give Roma?  The team is certainly weaker in midfield, with their best player there being Daniele De Rossi.  The club’s strength is with their forwards but their leading scorer is injury-prone Francesco Totti, who is 34.  Donovan would provide some offense from the midfield and could pair well with Marco Borriello and Mirko Vucinic (if any of them stay).  The key is who will be the next manager – Vincenzo Montella is a caretaker and DeBennedetto may want to make a big splash with a big-name hire.

Off the pitch the move would be a great idea.  The Roma ownership group could take the most marketable American soccer player and use him to sell more Roma merchandise.  While Donovan Giallorossi shirts may not outsell Kobe Bryant jerseys, Donovan’s presence on the team would allow Roma to enter the American soccer consciousness and attract some casual soccer fans.

This is by no means a slam dunk, however. Acquiring Donovan would be a considerable cost.  Labidou speculates Donovan’s transfer fee would be around $15 million and his salary would likely increase from its current $2.3 million.  Even more critical than the money is the Serie A rule limiting the number of non-EU passport holding players.  As a result of the disastrous 2010 World Cup, the Italian club presidents set a limit of one non-EU passport holder per club as a way to encourage teams to develop Italian talent.  The loopholes allow teams to circumvent this rule, but Donovan could not and Roma would be unable to sign additional talent from outside of Europe.

There’s also the factor of Donovan’s age and past record that make this a questionable signing.  He is approaching 30 years old, an age when few players improve.  Outside of his Everton playing time, Donovan has also not been able to turn his MLS success to success in European leagues.  Could Donovan adjust to Serie A’s style of play, which is vastly different than MLS and the English Premier League?

And as is the case with any rumor, there is more to the story.  Brian Zygo shares that Roma is reportedly also looking at Michael Bradley, another American international but one who at 23 is seen as a rising star.  Bradley might make more sense for Roma because while he does not have the Q rating Donovan has, he could one day be a big name if he succeeds on the national team.  For a cheaper price, you’d also be getting a player with continental experience who plays a similar position.

During the winter, Landon Donovan said he would not be going out on loan in order to take some much needed time off and to refocus on his career.  The question becomes is he now ready to try and make his name in Europe again.  Becoming the American face of an Italian franchise is a tempting possibility and it would give him the chance to prove again he is good enough for the top leagues in Europe.  But the Galaxy are winning and he has a chance to win an MVP trophy, Golden Boot, and an MLS Cup.  Will Landon Donovan go to Rome?  I have my doubts, but I would not be surprised.

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34 Responses to Report: AS Roma Wants Donovan. Badly

  1. soccerreform says:

    MLS losing Landon Donovan would be like McDonald’s losing Ronald. Hamburgler Henry and Beckham McCheese can’t fill those shoes.

  2. God Bless the MLS says:

    Does this mean that Luke Rodgers will request a transfer to Lazio?

  3. Charles says:

    A team that draws less than the Sounders is going to be able to afford to buy one of MLS’ best players, but Everton isn’t ?
    I don’t know a lot of Euro soccer, that doesn’t seem to add up.

    “…..and it would give him the chance to prove again he is good enough for the top leagues in Europe….”
    Give me a break, Landon doesn’t have to prove anything to idiots who are not smart enough to know he is good enough.

    • vic says:

      thats true, donovan doesnt need to prove anything. It was all visible on the international stage last summer. As for AS Roma, they are far far superior to Everton. Its not even close.

      • Charles says:

        That might be true, but my question is can they afford him.

        Everton lives off the Man U/Chelsea teet with a massive EPL TV contract…and still can’t afford him.

        AS Roma ? They draw less than the Sounders, where is the money coming from ?

        • Alan says:

          Their average attendance is around 34000. Still not too shabby. Its not all from attendance.

        • SSReporters says:

          “AS Roma ? They draw less than the Sounders, where is the money coming from ?”

          You probably didn’t do too well in business class…..

          • soccerreform says:

            In business class, they’d tell you that MLS search for profit by retarding growth and quality – whilst controlling the regulatory governing body – is a good thing.

            Good thing they’re not selling sausage. We’d all have Salmonella.

          • Dave C says:

            Charles – you’ve already proven you don’t know much about the UEFA Champions League (“Man U vs Barca in the final again“, when in actual fact its only the second time it’s ever happened), you’ve admitted you don’t know much about European soccer, yet still you post this nonsense. Do you think Roma’s only income is their ticket sales??

            I’ll give you a clue – you can buy their shirts for around $80 each. I’m guessing they sell more shirts than Everton.

          • Dave C says:

            Also, the basic premise of your argument is false. Roma do not draw smaller crowds than the Sounders. According to wikipedia, the average attendances for the most recent seasons were 39k (Roma) vs 36k (Seattle).

          • The original Tom says:

            I suspect ticket price is higher than Seattles too, plus TV revenue for Roma is probably a lot higher. And they don’t have to share revenues with smaller clubs like Real Salt Lake.

            I don’t know about the Everton revenue comparisons; it could be that Everton have other plans- or maybe Donnovan is more interested in Roma than Everton. Currently Roma are a bigger club, whatever that means.

  4. King Cantona says:

    Why!? He’s Mia Hamm with a penis?

  5. NY Cosmic Man says:

    I think Mia Hamm already has a penis?

  6. soccerreform says:

    Also, Landon has his eyes on the Papacy.

  7. Alan says:

    Well, this is going to be hard for me. I love Landon, and I want him to stay in MLS (he is welcome at San Jose in my book), but IF I were to pick a place for him to go outside of MLS, it would be to AS Roma. They are my favorite team! Hopefully the Eurotrolls are reading this. Yes, Alan likes European soccer AND MLS! And yes, Roma is far superior to Everton. Their style of soccer is what MLS should try to copy if they copy anything, not EPL. Very sound, very technical, very skilled, no long balls. Donovan would be a good fit. Stay in MLS Landon, but IF you feel you have to go overseas, go to AS Roma!!!

  8. Alan says:

    Oh, and if Michael Bradley decides to stay overseas, GO TO ROMA!!!!!

  9. Spacedog Footy says:

    I hope they like Landycakes in Rome. Landycakes Parmagiana! Lazio ultras are going to have fun with him.

    • vic says:

      and i thought i was the only one who gets hungry when i hear “landycakes”. i know its an insult, but i think galaxy should’ve gone with it and sold landycakes at HDC concession stand. what would a landycake be? would it be a combination of german chocolate, british pound cake (or blood pudding), and a heaping load of good old american peanut butter & jelly….yum, yum.

  10. Nomar Garciaparra says:

    Who said my wife has a penis?! It’s a strap-on!

  11. "The Evil" Sigi Shmid says:

    Does anyone here think that Bruce Arena has a little sugar in his tank?

  12. Hans Backe says:

    I must say I do think sometimes this about Bruce Arena, I must say, in a way, it seems like it sometimes he is a bit “fancy” I must say!

  13. David Beckham says:

    I could have told ya’ me Yank gaffer is a puff, who in bloody hell is Landon Donovan?

  14. The Special One says:

    I don’t like Italian football and Italian football does’nt like me. What is Roma and who is Landon Donovan? I called my realtor, said she has flats available on the Kings Road!

  15. Isla Fisher says:

    OH DEUCE!!!!!!!!

  16. Tay Zonday says:

    Chocolate rainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

  17. Charles says:

    What is funny is these random ramblings are better than Robert’s ( and recently SSReporters ) posts….and it isn’t even close.

  18. Dave C says:

    Just a couple of points:
    – first, can the Gaffer do something about all these nonsense posts. The first one or two were funny, but the 20th? Not so much.

    – second, the headline doesn’t really match the headline. The article essentially sits on the fence – it says he could be a good fit, but lists some drawbacks (price and age), suggests that many summer transfer stories are no more than tabloid gossip, doesn’t provide any firm reason for believing Roma would be interested (apart from the fact that the owner is American, as if that counts for anything), and concludes Will Landon Donovan go to Rome? I have my doubts, but I would not be surprised.

    But the headline seems to suggest it’s a concrete fact that Roma want to sign Donovan.

    Also, I don’t agree with the comparison with Michael Bradley:
    Bradley might make more sense for Roma because while he does not have the Q rating Donovan has, he could one day be a big name if he succeeds on the national team. For a cheaper price, you’d also be getting a player with continental experience who plays a similar position.

    What is a Q rating? And I don’t think you could really describe them as playing a similar position. Bradley is a central midfielder – as far as I’m aware, mostly of the defensive breed, or perhaps an old-school box-to-box type. LD can barely be described as a midfielder at all. He’s more of a winger/forward.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Dave, if you mean the comments, I removed many of the inane ones tonight.

      The Gaffer

      • Dave C says:

        Yeah, I meant all the comments from “Bruce Arena”, “Isla Fisher” etc etc. Hope no-one thought that I thought the article itself was nonsense!

  19. Clint Dempsey says:

    Naw, you ninjas talkin sh*t about my homie Bob Bradley are straight-wrong. Me and my boss Bradley went to the strip club and we had a ball laying the dolla$ on them ho€s! There he said that I would have to play the important striker position in the World Cup as the USMNT has no strikers. You ninjas talk more sh*t about my ninja Bradley mad I’ll slap the red on that back of your necks. TEXAS SON!!

  20. Charles says:

    ” But even though AS Roma reportedly is willing to offer MLS $14 million
    for Donovan and also would match his $2.3-million Galaxy salary, his
    agent, Richard Motzkin, has questioned why his client would want to
    switch leagues.”

    AMEN brother. Long live MLS.

    I have said this plenty of times before. Anyone that is the face of US soccer isn’t going to be hurting for money from Landon on…including Landon.

    So now where does he WANT to play:
    – At home
    – Where he will go down in history ( all time leader goal scorer, the first “greatest American player in MLS” )
    – Many things left to accomplish, such as winning CCL

    – Play for a great team
    – Against great competition
    – With a LOT of negatives, such as NONE of the things that I listed above

    The choice is a cakewalk to me…and I think Landon agrees.

    • Alan says:

      What’s more interesting to me is how many people comment on MLS on an MLS site that don’t know what they are talking about, nor do they follow or care about the league. This is who you should be calling out. Just saying. When Charles goes on Serie A Talk, then I will call him out too. Until then, it is just best to correct him and move on.

      • Charles says:

        Agreed Alan, although I don’t think correct is the best word. As I actually ASKED a question…where is the money coming from ?

        IF it is coming from deep pockets I don’t know about I appreciate the lesson on the Serie A I don’t follow.

        Either way, there was no need to correct me on the later post:
        Landon did agree….he would rather play here in MLS.

        Great games this weekend, btw.

  21. Quentez1 says:

    Landon is one of the best in MLS.i thought he should have left MLS in 2008
    i watch all leagues and follow MLS.Also i talk soccer online with people around the world and they love LD and want 2 see him in their time zone.
    Yes Europe.MLS let him go.You really think brazil care if Neymar play outside
    his country.I love MLS.But i feel like a US soccer revolutionist.Its seems like we want all americans 2 stay here or come home.Landon should play with the best.

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