Landon Donovan could have chosen an easier option than joining Bayern on a short-term loan. The 26-year-old USA star has received a number of offers from top European clubs in recent weeks, but instead of accepting a three or four year deal elsewhere, the player has adopted a “no risk, no fun” philosophy and plumped for a ten-week loan spell with Bayern.
“The lad’s fired up and wants to prove himself, which I find amazing,” commented Jürgen Klinsmann. Back in November, Donovan accepted the Bayern boss’s invitation to a ten-day trial in the Bavarian capital, after which the club and the player agreed on a second try-out period. Donovan will spend the time until the start of the new Major League Soccer season in mid-March with FCB, when a decision will be made as to whether he returns to Los Angeles Galaxy or extends his stay in Germany.
“He wants to convince the powers that be, myself included, that he’s the right player for Bayern. He certainly has the determination,” Klinsmann told FCB.tv. For his part, Donovan is relishing the chance to prove himself at the club. “I’ve appeared for a number of teams already. I can play football, and I know what has to be done out on the pitch,” he declared on Sunday. “I’m ready for the challenge, and when my chance comes, I’ll take it.”
The five-time US Player of the Year is guaranteed the opportunity to put himself in the shop window. “We’re all excited by him. He’ll get playing time, in the friendlies, in the DFB Cup and in the Bundesliga,” promised Klinsmann, who expects great things of the versatile forward. “He has unbelievable pace and dribbling skill, he looks for the one-on-one situations, and he scores goals.”
The man capped 105 times by his country is a very different type of player compared to FCB’s current strikeforce of Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, Klinsmann continued: “He’s capable of real surprise moments up front.” Donovan is well aware of the scale of the task he has taken on. “It’ll be very tough, because Klose and Toni are in great form. My job is to make the coach’s job more difficult,” he said.
The first few days with his new tam-mates have been great fun, Donovan reports. “It’s been very good so far. All the players have been really friendly to me,” he stated. By the by, Landon has also given a commendable account of himself at table-tennis and the pool table. As he himself says: “Bayern is a huge opportunity for me.”