SBD/Issue 29/Franchises

Beckham Transfer Talks Ongoing, Contingent On Him Returning

A senior MLS official said Galaxy MF David Beckham’s potential move to Italian Serie A club AC Milan is still at an "exploratory" stage and insisted that Beckham "will need to return for the start of the 2009 MLS season," according to Simon Evans of REUTERS. MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis, who has “final say on all player transactions,” said that the deal “will not go ahead unless the Galaxy are sure that Beckham will return for the opening of the season in March.” Gazidis: “We are in exploratory talks to look at whether the opportunity makes sense for the Galaxy and David. If it does -- and only if it does -- then things will go forward.” Gazidis added Beckham “would need to be back (for the MLS start), we are talking about a short term loan.” AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani said, “The deal isn’t completed yet. We have to decide on it all with his lawyers and with [the] Galaxy” (REUTERS, 10/23).

GALAXY QUEST: In London, Nick Harris cites sources as saying that AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke has "given his blessing" to Beckham's loan to AC Milan, "if only because he hopes it will increase Beckham's chance of fulfilling his Galaxy contract." Sources said that Leiweke "has always accepted Beckham's England ambitions take precedence over the Galaxy." Harris writes Leiweke "would rather give Beckham leeway and increase his chances of keeping his most marketable asset than stand in Beckham's way, provoke conflict and maybe lose the player." Beckham "knows he is in a no-lose situation," and if the Galaxy "try to prevent his loan move -- and curtail Beckham's dream, as he sees it -- they face the prospect he might seek a permanent transfer." Harris notes the loan will be officially announced "when certain 'lawyer points' have been agreed," including AC Milan "paying Beckham's [US$129,500]-a-week wages during the loan period, and agreeing to specific and limited exploitation of Beckham's name and image rights" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/24).

Many Feel Beckham Has Failed
To Live Up To Hype In MLS
ITALIAN VACATION: In London, Harry Rollins writes Beckham signing with the Galaxy and joining MLS "seemed like a match made in heaven: a fledgling league in need of a star and football's most bankable name." But by "almost every conceivable measure, Beckham has failed to set football alight in the US." Over the course of the '08 MLS season, Beckham "has done little to improve the Galaxy's miserable record on the pitch" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/24). In Toronto, Morgan Campbell wrote, "What will MLS get out of this loan besides a setback in their efforts to become a true major league and a winter filled with worry that their moneymaker might get hurt? ... They get to keep their highest-paid player happy by giving him exactly what he wants." Campbell: "If you were running [MLS], would you be the one to tell Beckham no?" (, 10/23).'s Gabriele Marcotti wrote for AC Milan, who "know how to turn star power into money," Beckham's loan is "a win-win." The worst-case scenario "is that he comes, trains with the team, plays a few games, generates some money and then leaves," while the best-case scenario "is that he makes a tangible contribution on the pitch and maybe even stays" (, 10/23).

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