According to a report from national soccer writer Charles Boehm, Real Salt Lake is apparently interested in former LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan. That report cites multiple unnamed sources, who confirmed that Donovan and RSL have been in contact, but cites no progress in any discussions.
There are no words that can really make this rumor make more sense, but here we are. The former LA Galaxy could sign with Real Salt Lake through free agency. Let’s just say this was unexpected, because there’s no getting around this fact.
Donovan, 34, is a veteran MLS player with just over 10 seasons at a continued rival of Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy. He is one of the most effective players in the history of the league, with eight regular seasons with double-digit goals and seven with double-digit assists. He has also won six MLS Cups, making him easily the winningest player at the club.
Interestingly, Donovan retired following an extremely productive 2014 season, only coming out of retirement in September 2016.
To say this rumor comes unexpectedly is undoubtedly an understatement. Following the end of the 2016 season, expectations seemed to be that Donovan had again retired, with LA Galaxy apparently telling reporters just that on Dec. 6. However, on Dec. 13, Donovan tweeted an indication that he might explore free agency, and it’s reasonably clear that he could likely sign with any MLS team without too much trouble, providing the salary details were right.
Having an elder statesman on the squad — like Donovan certainly is — is something any team would find benefit in.
Donovan started his career with Bayer Leverkusen as a 17-year-old, and the German team loaned him to San Jose Earthquakes in 2000. During his career, he also played on loan with Bayern Munich (2009) and twice to Everton (2010 and 2012).