Football

Everton given Donovan lifeline with threat of US player strike

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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.

Everton travel to Birmingham on Saturday for a match that is a fight for a potential place in next season's Europa League. 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 and 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 added: "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 a 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."

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