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SBD Global/January 3, 2013/International Football

Beckham's Future: China Rumors Denied, Middle East Holds Hope, Australia Better Without

Despite recent reports in English newspapers that David Beckham has been in talks with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua to make about $404,000 a week, a club insider revealed he is actually "unlikely" to be signed by the team, according to Daniel Ren of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. The source, who was briefed by club Owner Zhu Jun, added that "Shenhua never approached Beckham and has no plans" to import him. The source said, "It was sheer rumour. Shenhua has no financial strength to sign another superstar." China has "increasingly become a new magnet" for int'l football stars as the free-spending clubs, including national champions Guangzhou Evergrande, "have sought to import big-name players and coaches" (SCMP, 12/31). In Abu Dhabi, UAE, Paul Oberjuerge wrote "of late, we have heard where David Beckham will not go," however, he "will play somewhere." Despite denials two weeks ago by UAE Pro-League club Al Jazira's media communications department, him joining the club "makes at least as much sense as any destination in Europe or Africa or the Americas." It would "broaden 'Brand Beckham' by taking him to the Middle East and to the Muslim world for the first time" (THE NATIONAL, 12/31).

NOT WORTH IT: In Sydney, Michael Lynch wrote if the recent reports about Beckham going to Shanghai are correct "then the dream of Becks ending his days as Aussie Dave ... are dashed." If the rumors are true, then "of course" it would be a letdown, "definitely" a dose of reality, and "maybe" the outcome of fanciful thinking. Still, "for all that massive publicity Beckham would have brought, and the new fans he would have attracted, he would have only been a short-term marketing ploy." To build the game long term, needed "is a commitment to excellence and the development of our own young talents, players who can star on the domestic stage before the best and brightest are sold to bigger clubs overseas." Also needed "is the development of a dedicated fan culture, the kind of emotional commitment to a team and a shirt that means supporters stick with the club through thick and thin and turn up at games irrespective of conditions" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/2).
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