Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan should join Everton on loan in January after the club claimed they had agreed a ''deal in principle'' to sign the American.
Donovan signed a new four-year deal to remain with the Galaxy until the end of the 2013 MLS season but the Californian club also said they were willing to let the player leave on a temporary basis in the new year. Everton appear to be in pole position after already holding talks with the Galaxy with a view to bringing the 27-year-old to Goodison Park.
The Merseyside club's website said: ''Final discussions are expected in the next 48 hours after all parties agreed in principle for the two-and-half month deal to take place.''
Donovan is keen to maintain his fitness ahead of next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa, and is following the lead set by his Los Angeles Galaxy team-mate David Beckham, who is to join AC Milan on loan in the New Year.
The striker, Major League Soccer's current Most Valuable Player, has been talking to a number of European clubs but has chosen to try his hand in the Premier League with Everton. The 27-year-old has had previous spells with German clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in the past.
A Galaxy statement on Friday stated: "We are aware of Everton's interest in Landon Donovan as they are one of a number of clubs who have contacted the Galaxy about the possibility of a short-term loan agreement.
"The Galaxy, MLS and Landon's representative will work together to determine if and whether an arrangement with Everton or any other club would be beneficial to all parties.''
Donovan announced he would be staying in California on a long-term basis when he spoke at a press conference in LA.
''I am excited to be able to pledge my future to the Galaxy by signing this new contract,'' he said. ''I have enjoyed my time with the Galaxy and am committed to helping bring the club another MLS Cup championship.
''I believe in this team and I want to be a part of its bright future. This is a great day for me both personally and professionally and I look forward to many successful years ahead.''
Donovan joined the Galaxy just prior to the 2005 season and has gone on to score 64 goals in 121 regular season games with LA, leaving him just six goals shy of Cobi Jones' club record of 70.
Galaxy general manager and coach Bruce Arena said: ''Landon's signing is great news for our fans and our club and is further proof that the Galaxy/AEG are committed to building a team that can compete for the MLS Cup year in and year out.
''He is our captain, our leader and the league's MVP and we believe that Landon signing this new contract is a key aspect to bringing the Galaxy further success both on and off the field.''