David Moyes appears unlikely to bring Landon Donovan to Everton on loan for a third time in January.
Moyes signed Donovan from LA Galaxy in 2010 and then again midway through last season. But the manager feels that the summer signing of Kevin Mirallas from Olympiakos has reduced the need to move for the American forward again.
Donovan, 30, has indicated that he needs a break to recover at the end of a tiring Major League Soccer campaign – and may even consider retirement from the game.
The forward struggled with knee and hamstring problems all year, and he is looking to recuperate after playing 49 games for club and country. His season ended on December 1 after helping LA Galaxy win the MLS Cup for the second successive season.
Donovan told the Los Angeles Times: "I'm going to take as much time as I need and decide if and when I'm ready to come back. I can't put a time frame on that. If it takes two weeks and I'm ready to go again or two months or a year or two years. Or never. I don't know.
"I'm aware of what I'm feeling, what I'm going through. And if I wake up one day and I say, 'you know what? I'm going to come back and play', then I'll be here within an hour.
"If that doesn't happen, if I wake up and I say, 'you know what? That's enough', then I'll let the people know who need to know and I'll get on with my life."