Landon Donovan faced a difficult dilemma as December progressed and the start of the European transfer window beckoned on January 1.

The U.S. international found himself in a situation similar to the circumstances he confronted last December. Once again, Donovan weighed two apparently viable options: bombarding forward in his playing career by spending a second consecutive winter on loan with Everton or recharging his batteries before preparing for the 2011 MLS campaign with Los Angeles.

Both offers enticed him in different ways, but only one of them truly suited his present requirements.

Everton desperately needs Donovan – or someone of his caliber – to bolster David Moyes’ threadbare squad before the talismanic Tim Cahill scampers off to Qatar for the Asian Cup in January. Donovan’s first spell on Merseyside earlier this year proved a hit for both player and club, and a second stint certainly appealed to his desire to mix it up at the top level. Other parties – Fulham, most notably – expressed interest, but Donovan’s affection for Everton made it a one-club race to carry him off the beach and shunt him straight into the Premier League with little rest.