Roberto Mancini says Manchester City may be interested in acquiring Landon Donovan

By Ronald Blum, AP
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mancini says Man City may be interested in Donovan

HARRISON, N.J. — Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini may be interested in acquiring Landon Donovan from Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 28-year-old midfielder had a successful 10-week loan to Everton last season and was the top American player at the World Cup with three goals.

“Donovan is a good player. Could be possible,” Mancini said Wednesday ahead of his club’s exhibition games against Sporting Lisbon and Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls. “The market is open until the end of August. Could be.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber said last week he doesn’t intend to sell Donovan, the American career World Cup scoring leader with five goals.

Donovan agreed in December to a four-year contract with MLS that pays him a base salary this year of $2.05 million.

Speaking last weekend in Washington, D.C., Donovan said talk of a transfer was premature. He didn’t object to Garber’s remarks.

“If we need to have a discussion at some point, then we will,” Donovan said. “But at this point that’s his opinion. If I were the commissioner I would say the same thing.”

Everton captain Phil Neville told Everton TV this month that “I’ve spoken to Landon and I know for a fact that he wants to come back here.”

In a slow transfer market, wealthy Manchester City already has signed Yaya Toure, David Silva and Jerome Boateng. Mancini said the club is considering bids for Aston Villa midfielder James Milner and Inter Milan forward Mario Balotelli.

New York’s game against Spurs on Thursday will mark Henry’s debut with the club — his first match since France’s first-round elimination at the World Cup.

“I’m trying to get back into shape. I didn’t do a lot for the past two, three weeks,” Henry said. “I’m not 100 percent, as you can imagine.”

Tottenham is a North London rival of Arsenal, a club Henry helped to win Premier League titles in 2002 and 2004.

Having finished fourth last season, Spurs is preparing for the Champions League qualifying playoffs that begin Aug. 17-18. Earlier Thursday, the International Football Association Board extended its experiment with two extra officials for this year’s Champions League.

Trials began with last season’s Europa League, the No. 2 club competition.

“I don’t like that. Technology is the cure. It’s going to happen. You’ve got to have goal line technology. It’s a must,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. “I went to watch games last year and even with the guy behind the goal, they still got it wrong. In the end, I think it’s too many cooks. I don’t think that’s a great idea, but the technology I’ve been saying for years is something that has to happen. It’s in every sport — certainly in England. You have it in American football. It’s everywhere. It takes seconds to get the right call.”

Manchester City plays Sporting Lisbon on Friday, and the preseason tournament ends Sunday when Man City meets the Red Bulls, and Spurs play Sporting.

The teams are without many of their World Cup players. Manchester City is missing midfielder Nigel de Jong, who broke the leg of American midfielder Stuart Holden in March, then got a yellow card in the Netherlands’ loss to Spain in the World Cup final for a karate kick to the chest of Xabi Alonso.

Mancini doesn’t think referees will be particularly quick to call infractions on De Jong.

“Nigel is a good player,” the manager said. “He’s a correct player. He’s a strong player. He plays always to win, which is important. But he’s not a dirty player.”

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