Moyes hopes to extend Donovan stay
David Moyes has not given up hope of keeping United States skipper Landon Donovan in a squad he maintains is the best he has ever had at the club. Moyes celebrates eight years at Goodison Park next week frustrated that even in a campaign that has seen Everton beat both Chelsea and Manchester United in quick succession, there will be no major trophies.
Everton travel to Birmingham tomorrow for a match that is a fight for a potential place in next season's UEFA Europa League. And it will be Donovan's last game for the club before he is due to return to the US for the start of the Major League Soccer season after a highly successful two-month loan spell on Merseyside.
Moyes sees the possibility of Donovan staying longer if the MLS players go through with their strike, having voted in favour of action yesterday if they do not get improved labour contracts before their league starts on 26 March. The Scot also hopes that Donovan will realise what he is leaving behind and want another crack at the Premier League. If the only prospect left is another loan next January, Moyes will also consider that.
He said: "I don't know yet whether this is Landon's last game, there is still a chance that there could be a players' strike in the US and that could give us the chance of having him a bit longer. He has done really well. He settled in very quickly and he has had an impact on the club in the short time he has been here, so we couldn't have asked for more from him. We have never talked about a permanent deal. But I think he will return to the States and say 'wow, the Premier League is where I want to be'."
He added: "It is a joy for him playing in the US, he is with a great team in a great place. But I think he will say: 'I want to play in the Premier League again'. Everyone wants to be somewhere that they are loved and cherished, which he certainly is in the US. But there is a different situation when you can be playing in the best league in the world against the best players. And if you want to be recognised at that level, Landon would probably want to have the opportunity to give it a go.
"We have not talked to him about the future, that is not right because he is owned by another club. Landon will be the one who in time says what he would really like. But if Landon was available again next January, I would probably try to bring him back here, certainly if he was available in the way that AC Milan keep re-signing David Beckham."
For now, Moyes must focus on trying to secure European football again next season for Everton. He said: "We have to win every game to take us nearer our objective. We have to avoid the question 'what is there left to play for'?
"This is the strongest Everton have been since I took over eight years ago. There is a good balance between a strong, hard-working side and the fact that we play some very good football these days. What we need to do now is build on that and continue to make this club stronger. I am excited because I can see that we are beginning to get to a level that could see us achieve things. But it is easy to talk about it. We are out of the cups and have been disappointing in the league. But I see around me a squad, that what we have got is a really good set-up."
Moyes will be without Leon Osman at Birmingham with a groin problem, while Tim Cahill and Louis Saha are back in training after calf and hamstring injuries respectively, but are unlikely to be considered for the trip. On Everton's future, Moyes added: "We have been at a good level for a few years, the question is can we make that extra jump. Some clubs have spent hundreds of millions trying to make that step up.
"What we have done is spend time developing the club and giving it stability. Now I am going to try to make the next move. But if another club spends another £50million in the summer, it does not matter what I have got here."