Los Angeles Soccer: Bolton
CARSON -- Galaxy midfielder David Beckham was asked Sunday about Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who was in critical condition after collapsing to the turf in cardiac arrest during the Wanderers' English F.A. Cup match Saturday against Tottenham.
“It's hard. Our thoughts as a club and individually, from my family, all go to his family, his friends. We just hope he pulls through,” Beckham said following the Galaxy's 3-1 Major League Soccer victory over D.C. United. “It's a tough time for him and his family, of course. But hes got a lot of support out there, he's got a lot of love out there -- not just from the football in England, but from the whole world.
“We just hope he pulls through.”
Muamba, 23, fell to the ground late in the first half Saturday. A medical team ran onto the field and gave the former English youth international CPR, working on him for about six minutes, reports said, as fans of Bolton and Tottenham sang his name. The game was abandoned, and Bolton's English Premier League game Tuesday against Aston Villa has been postponed.
Muamba, born in what then was called Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), joined Bolton in 2008. He was bred in Arsenal's youth academy, in London.
One pundit, surveying the emotional response to Muamba's plight in England and abroad, noted that “we're all Wanderers now.”
“You know, it's true,” said Beckham, a Londoner who figures to lead Great Britain's soccer team at this summer's Olympics. “You go into these games week in and week out and the amount of pressure that's on teams to win games -- this puts it all in perspective. Health is the most important thing. Individuals and their health is more important than anything.
“We just hope he pulls through. Our love as a club all goes to him.”
Aston Villa's bid to acquire Galaxy forward Robbie Keane in a two-month loan deal appears to be near completion, with speculation in the British and Irish press that the move will be finalized by early next week.
Villa manager Alex McLeish suggested as much when he spoke to media Friday in Birmingham.
“[The deal] is not far away, but I don't like to commit myself until it actually is done,” McLeish said. “[Our] club have sanctioned the deal. They didn't think it was too bad an idea or too big a risk. ... Robbie has got good experience, he is good in the dressing room and he is highly motivated. He has got a certain competition to play at the end of the season with [Ireland, at Euro 2012], so he wants to maintain his level. He wants to come here, and we would be trying to get things cleared for next week."
The Irish Central website reported the loan fee would approach $1 million for as few as six games. British wire service The Press Association on Thursday priced the deal at nearly $775,000.
Dublin daily Evening Herald reported that Liverpool also is interested in Keane, as a replacement for Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, who was handed an eight-game suspension for racist behavior.
Aston Villa hopes to have Keane ready for its next Premier League match, Jan. 14 against Everton, which has Galaxy captain Landon Donovan on loan.
Landon Donovan is hopeful his second loan stint with Everton can begin in earnest Wednesday, when the Toffees take on Bolton at Goodison Park (Fox Soccer Plus, 11:55 a.m.).
The Galaxy's captain, who enjoyed a memorable stint two years ago with the Liverpool-based club, is with Everton until Feb. 25, when he'll join L.A.'s preparations for the 2012 Major League Soccer season.
He began training Friday with the Toffees' first team and was eligible to play in Sunday's victory at West Bromwich Albion, although he did not dress for the match.
“I was a little disappointed that I couldn't play on New Year's Day, but that's just the way it goes,” Donovan said in a interview video posted on Everton's website. “But it's nice to be here and start training, and my hope is that I'll feet fit enough and ready and the manager wants to use me against Bolton. It would be nice to start back at Goodison and get going.”
Donovan was revelatory his first tenure with the Toffees, quickly emerging as a fan favorite with a player-of-the-month performance right after arriving on a 10-week loan in January 2010. He scored twice and assisted three more goals in eight league appearances, winning acclaim throughout the English Premier League.
He said arriving at Everton last week was “a little bit like Christmas morning” and that social media, especially Twitter, had enabled him to continue a dialogue with many among the club's fans.
“I follow [Everton] kind of like a die-hard fan now,” Donovan said. “I can't always watch every game, but as many games as I can, I watch, and keeping in touch with some of the guys is nice. I feel like it's a part of me now, and I don't think that's ever going to go away.”
Donovan's first stint wrapped up with a superb goal in a victory over Hull City, with Jack Rodwell carrying him to the corner so he could be saluted by supporters -- captain Phil Neville leading the charge -- who chanted, “USA! USA!”
Donovan called it a “fantastic memory.”