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Beckham For First Time Says He Wants To Leave Galaxy For Milan
Published February 5, 2009
|Beckham Enjoys Highest Level
Of Competition In Italy
NOT WANTING TO BURN BRIDGES: Beckham admitted that he is "not sure" how the Galaxy would respond to the news and that he is "wary of upsetting Leiweke, with whom he has had a good relationship." In London, Graham Spiers reports AC Milan attorney Leandro Cantamessa yesterday "joined forces with Beckham's advisers in discussion" with Leiweke about releasing Beckham from his MLS contract. A permanent move to Milan by Beckham "would not fall foul of UEFA's transfer window restrictions if Galaxy agreed to cancel his contract" (LONDON TIMES, 2/5). Also in London, Nick Harris writes with Galaxy's blessing, a permanent transfer "should be agreed quickly, in which case Milan would need to pay Galaxy a transfer fee." Beckham has a "get-out clause in his Galaxy contract but cannot trigger it without financial penalties until October" (London INDEPENDENT, 2/5).
POWER PLAY: SI.com's Jonah Freedman writes for the "first time in MLS history, the Galaxy have huge leveraging power over one of the preeminent soccer clubs in the entire world." The Galaxy "may have no choice but to let Beckham go, but they also have a unique opportunity to hold him hostage until they get something from Milan -- something beyond the eight-figure cash offer that inevitably will be [thrown] their way." Freedman lists "three bargaining chips the Galaxy can demand" from Milan: a suitable replacement player, a visit from Milan and a "beneficial partnership" (FANNATION.com, 2/5).
Beckham Boosted Attendance
Throughout MLS While With Galaxy
HE BROUGHT ATTENTION TO LEAGUE: ESPN's Tommy Smyth deemed Beckham’s time with the Galaxy as a success. Smyth: "What other player in MLS can bring the world’s attention to look at MLS? ... This man was everywhere, in every newspaper you got and every magazine. It was a success, maybe not football-wise, but certainly from a marketing point of view.” While admitting MLS will "take a hit" with the loss of Beckham, Smyth said, "The league’s only an infant league. It has a lot of time to go. They will miss David Beckham, but it’s not the end of the world” ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 2/5).