Everton are set to be thwarted in their bid to extend the loan spell of Landon Donovan at Goodison Park.
The United States captain has made a huge impact since joining the Merseyside club on a short-term deal in January, and Toffees boss David Moyes revealed he had explored the possibility of a renewed loan deal. Donovan is due to return to parent club Los Angeles Galaxy, where he recently signed a new contract, to prepare for the new Major League Soccer season later this month.
Moyes has previously stated any extension to the 10-week loan would be unlikely, and Galaxy coach Bruce Arena underlined that saying: "We're not interested," in quotes reported on the official Major League Soccer website, www.mlsnet.com.
"Landon will be back here March 15. We're being consistent with everything we've said all along."
That is not the end of the matter, though, with Arena revealing Everton's bid to retain Donovan may yet succeed as a result of threatened industrial action in the MLS.
The American league is currently in talks with its players' union regarding a new labour agreement but, with doubts persisting over the progress of those discussions, there is a chance the start of the new season could be delayed.
The Galaxy are due to begin the new campaign against New England on March 27, but that may be put on hold if no deal is reached, with fresh talks planned for next week.
"Obviously the collective bargaining could change that," Arena said.
"If we didn't have a league going on, we would certainly entertain the idea of allowing Landon to stay there.
"If we have a league, Landon's going to be playing for the Galaxy."