After a few days of training with Bayern Munich this week, the LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan seems to have made a believer out of Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness who after watching him in practice told the Rheinischer Post "He can play."
But even though Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann was already sold on the 26 year-old American and Hoeness now appears to be a believer, its still not clear if a deal will be in the offing. The question is not whether Donovan can contribute to the team, its whether he is a better option than Zenith's Andrey Arshavin, Stuttgart's Mario Gomez, or Fiorientina's Adrian Mutu - all in the running to replace the soon-exiting Lukas Podolski.
The German press are calling a move for Donovan "risky" and are having a field day picking through his background with one (Rheinisher Post) even downplaying his recent 20 goal season by saying "...but the American soccer league is only at the level of third division football in Germany." But even Donovan had to offer his own blunt assessment of MLS when he told the Sueddeutsche Zeiting: "On each team, there are at most 3 players that could hold their own in the Bundesliga and Bayern would easily win the championship." He also told Spox.com that "All players in the Bundesliga are better than in the USA, from number one to number 22...many in the USA can't play proper soccer."
Another newspaper, Munich's TZ , asked the question with its headline "Are You Good Enough For Bayern Mr. Donovan?" A few even think he can be purchased from MLS for around five million euros ($7 million) which would make him a cheaper option than Arshavin, Gomez, or Mutu - provided he can deliver the goods. This kind of press may not make it easy to explain if FC Hollywood signs this player from the real Hollywood and would put Donovan under a microscope from the beginning if he is signed.
But neither Klinsmann nor Hoeness are the type to make their decisions based on press clippings and both have no issues taking risks, especially Klinsmann. A decision is expected by the time his "guest training" ends next week and it could even be a loan until March, something Donovan did not rule out in an interview with Spox.com. When asked yesterday by the press if he thought he was ready to play for Bayern, Donovan answered in clear German " Ich bin bereit." (I'm ready)