With a couple of solid wins under our belt, I was prepared to eat my words and admit that I whipped out the button far too soon. But having attended the Philly game on the 4th of July, I just don’t feel confident that our team is really back. There are signs of life. We’ve had some good results. And it seems like Il Bruce may have finally found a formation that works with Landon back up top. And while all this inspires me to retain my persistent optimism, I still feel like it is a house of cards just waiting for a strong wind. So once again, I go back to my solution. Which is, sell Donovan and bring in Alessandro Del Piero. I know it’s blasphemy, but hear me out.
Donovan is still, at least from my perspective, our best player. I have been a fan of his for over a decade and consider him a fixture on this team. But he has a year left on his contract and he has probably reached his apex. It is unlikely he is ever going to be worth more on the transfer market than he is right now. I also get the sense that mentally he is done with us. Not that he doesn’t try hard; I think he is always a passionate player. But he has accomplished what he set out to in MLS and is clearly ready for a new challenge (preferably in the EPL). We also don’t really need him as much anymore. He is working well up top right now, but he has said himself that he is not a natural striker. For the amount we pay him, we can get better forwards. I think he is our best midfielder, but it’s not like we don’t have alternatives there. In addition to Beckham, we have Juninho, Sarvas, and Magee, all of whom are very good players. Jimenez, Stephens, and Franklin are all serviceable too. I’d say the one place on the field where we can afford to make a sacrifice right now is the middle. Donovan’s departure would hurt, but it wouldn’t be crippling because we have other guys who can play well in his normal position.
Of course, you don’t just sell Donovan for no reason. But there could be a very good reason right now. Alessandro Del Piero just came off a great season with Juventus and is now a free agent. No transfer fee. His salary for them was $1 million last year, about half of what Donovan makes. He is a natural striker who has poise and can bring stability to a team’s attack, which is exactly what the Galaxy need right now. Pairing him with Keane would instantly create one of the best front lines in the entire league. Del Piero loves Los Angeles and has said he is either going to the US or Brazil now. Maybe just icing on the cake, but he is also fun to watch and could provide a great emotional boost for the team. This is one of those unique opportunities where selling Donovan could result in us having both more money and a better squad.
So could it happen? Some are speculating that it already is. Apparently Donovan has put his house up for sale. Everton has expressed an interest in signing him and may now have the cash to do it. A friend pointed out to me that Fulham also recently sold nearly all of their strikers. They have been a natural destination for American players and could look to Donovan to complement or replace Dempsey (if he goes to Liverpool). They certainly would have the money to do it and could use him either way. Del Piero has already said he would be interested in coming to MLS and clearly if they sell Donovan the Galaxy could afford him. So yes, I think this is a very real possibility.
Will it happen? That’s much tougher. The MLS transfer window closes in less than 2 weeks. The European transfer market remains in flux, with a lot of deals going down. Teams’ needs are constantly shifting and who knows if any are willing to pay the $15M or so MLS would likely want for Donovan. But it is very possible that the negotiations have been ongoing. It is very possible that Donovan is selling his house because he knows a transfer is coming. It is very possible that Del Piero would take a deal to play for the Galaxy.
Maybe it’s a fantasy. Maybe it’s reality. I’m just closing my eyes, clicking my heels, crossing my fingers, and saving up the dough for the Del Piero Galaxy jerseys I will be buying for myself and my kids in August.