By Alex Baker
UPDATE: Major League Soccer has now officially confirmed that Landon Donovan will be coming out of retirement to rejoin the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Multiple reports, including one from the Los Angeles Times, have stated that former United States Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan is on the verge of coming out of retirement to rejoin the Los Angeles Galaxy for the remainder of the Major League Soccer season.
Donovan, 34, retired at the end of the 2014 MLS season after leading the Galaxy to its fifth MLS Cup.
However, according to anonymous sources cited by Kevin Baxter at the Times and Blake Thomsen of SI, Donovan is in advanced talks to rejoin the team, which has struggled in the two seasons since his departure.
Although the MLS transfer window is now officially closed, because Donovan is a free agent, he will be allowed to join the team once the league signs off on his contract.
Donovan is the all-time leading scorer and assist-maker in MLS. Recently, he’s been working as a pundit and commentator and even if the deal goes through, it’s unclear how soon it might be before we actually see Donovan suiting up for the Galaxy.
While the deal is not yet done, it’s expected to be completed before September 15, the deadline for MLS clubs to submit their rosters for the playoffs.
The return of Donovan would come as a big boost to the Galaxy, who have struggled this season and are currently inundated with a number of injuries, including those to Gyasi Zardes, Jelle van Damme, and Steven Gerrard.
Midfielder Nigel de Jong meanwhile, has been sold to Turkish side Galatasary, with some speculating that the sale of the Dutchman was in part to clear a roster spot for Donovan.
This is just one of many questions pertaining to Donovan’s surprising, although not unprecedented return. Many are also wondering what jersey number the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. national team will be assigned, with the No. 10 he wore throughout his Galaxy career now belonging to Giovani Dos Santos.
While no official announcement from Donovan, MLS or the Galaxy has yet been made, there is speculation it could come before the end of the week.
Photos by ISI, Brad Smith and David Bernal.