Everton boss David Moyes believes the arrival of Landon Donovan in January will give his side a much-needed shot in the arm.
Moyes confirmed today the USA striker will join the Toffees on a short-term loan deal when the transfer window opens next month. Everton have been hampered throughout the first half of the season by a lengthy injury list and Moyes sees Donovan, 27, as the first of a handful of signings that could increase his options.
Donovan, like LA Galaxy team-mate David Beckham, has been given permission to prepare for the 2010 Major League Soccer season, which begins in March, with a European club. He may be at Goodison Park for as little as 10 weeks before returning to the US, but Moyes feels that could be enough to give his side a lift.
"He will bring me some experience, some pace and he is a good finisher," said the coach. "He gives me another body, which we needed, and I think we need to add another two or three in January. American boys in the main tend to come over here and do well. He was voted the best player in MLS, so I think he can bring some qualities we can use. He is relatively experienced and I need these players to come in and hit the ground running, not need a month or two to get ready."
Donovan failed to make an impact in previous spells with German clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, but Moyes expects him to respond well to the challenge of playing in the English Premier League.
"This is a test to see if he can maybe jump up to the level. I think he can," added Moyes. "I see the American team regularly and know what is there. He is thought of highly in America and is a really talented player."
With Everton just a point above the relegation zone, Moyes sees the deal as a short-term fix and not a taster that could lead to a longer deal. Donovan is also using the move to retain his match-sharpness in a FIFA World Cup™ year. "I think he has signed a new contract with LA Galaxy," continued the Everton coach. "If the boy came and said he really wants a bit of that, we might have to see what we can do, but that certainly isn't the goal at the moment."
Rodwell adds to woes
Midfielder Jack Rodwell became Everton's latest casualty after suffering a hamstring injury in last night's Europa League loss to BATE Borisov. Moyes is still awaiting results of a scan to determine the extent of the injury but the 18-year-old will definitely miss Sunday's home clash with in-form Birmingham. Moyes is already without the likes of Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville, Mikel Arteta and Joseph Yobo for extended periods.
One positive piece of news on the injury front was the surprise return of Leon Osman against Borisov. The midfielder only returned to training this week after two months out with a foot injury but, with qualification for the last 32 already assured, Moyes decided to include him in an inexperienced side.
The 28-year-old played 81 minutes before being substituted in a game which Everton finished with eight teenagers on the field. "It was good Leon Osman got 80 minutes. That has helped him but he has had no training," said Moyes. "It is a concern we had to put him right in to get the match practice and it is something we have to look at to see if he is ready or not."