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Can Wesley Sneijder or Andrea Pirlo replace Landon Donovan?

As the January window approaches, we break down all the transfer rumors as well as answer the question: How do you replace Landon Donovan?

Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

With yesterday's big news that the Galaxy are passing on Cubo Torres, all attention shifts to the January transfer window for the Galaxy to sign a big name Designated Player. LA has made little secret of the fact that they are looking to sign a big name to replace Landon Donovan, and after the MLS Cup final, Bruce Arena said "we're going to get another good player, no question about that. We're far enough to have some options. We'll see what happens in the next month or so."

Several huge stars have been linked to the Galaxy, including Andrea Pirlo, Wesley Sneijder, Ronaldinho, and Steven Gerrard.

Now some of these links are stronger than others. The reports on Andrea Pirlo are pretty substantial, and it seems the negotiations are pretty far along, according to an ESPNFC report in September. Steven Gerrard seems to be the biggest long shot of the bunch, as there has been very little to link him to the Galaxy,other than general rumblings that MLS teams are interested in him. Wesley Sneijder and Ronaldinho seem to fall somewhere in between.

Wesley Sneijder finds himself at a club which doesn't have the finances to pay him regularly. Reports in the last few days suggest that Galatasaray may be looking to sell the dutch playmaker, and are currently gauging the interest of South Hampton and Manchester United, according to the dailymail. While most of the talks surround a move to England, Sneijder has been a known target of the Galaxy for quite some time, and in November, the following tweet from @MLSTransfers stirred the pot a little.

Ronaldinho's situation is a little harder to gauge. For one thing, he's a player that the Galaxy have targeted before and supposedly, Bruce Arena wasn't to keen on him joining the team. But times have changed and the club needs a big signing. Ronaldinho is said to be unhappy at his current Mexican Club, but the Galaxy link still seems to be based on pure speculation and a sense of "it just makes sense". The closet thing we have on this is a very credible person on twitter reporting a rumor

But putting the question of credibility aside for a moment, let's examine what Landon Donovan's role was on this team, and whether or not these are the types of players that can fill that void.

Landon Donovan was a lot of things this year. He was a forward, a central attacking midfielder, an out and out left winger and an inverted left winger, and with the exception of horrendous stretch of games as a CAM, both he and the Galaxy were successful no matter where he lined up. For this reason, it would be silly to say that the Galaxy "need a creative winger." In actuality, the Galaxy just need a chance creator as that was Landon's primary function on this team.

Here is a mind blowing set of numbers. The Galaxy averaged 9.1 key passes per 90 this year. Landon Donovan averaged 3.6. Landon Donovan accounted for an insane number of the Galaxy's offense last year, and when judging his replacements for next year, neither age nor positioning should be the primary issue of consideration. Chance creation should. So, can any of the Galaxy targets fill that void? Take a look at the comparative numbers.

As you can see, despite his age, Pirlo is still an absolute beast of a creator and the Galaxy would be foolish to pass him up. Sneijder's numbers are almost equally impressive, and despite playing in a weaker league than the other save maybe Ronaldinho, his numbers were consistent throughout Champions League. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how far back Ronaldinho falls in comparison to the others, however, it's worth noting that he is surrounded by far less quality and is not an out and out chance creator in the first place.

So who do you think could help the Galaxy the most? Let us know in the comments section.