Yesterday we got the first wind of the rumored report that David Beckham might be playing professionally for the AC Milan soccer team for four months next year during the US soccer off-season. It was reported that Italy was eager to have him and Becks was considering the proposition. But today, the LA Times reveals that in the melee of this furious sports story, the LA Galaxy was not even aware of what was going on. The paper suggests that all this talk of the Galaxy loaning out Becks to AC Milan was going on without anyone cluing in the management team of the LA Galaxy. Additionally, the Times piece argues that Becks should not be loaned out to the Italian team but should instead sever his ties with the LA Galaxy and move back to Europe permanently for the good of both the Galaxy and David Beckham. Here are a few pics of Becks and his most recent Galaxy training session in Carson, CA this week:
If David Beckham wants to play for England at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa he needs to leave Major League Soccer right now. Not on loan, not for just a short training spell with AC Milan or any other European club that comes calling, but for good — his own good and that of the Galaxy. Ever since AEG sounded the trumpets in January 2007 and announced amid much boasting and fanfare that it had signed Beckham, the Galaxy has been nothing but a puppet in the hands of Beckham’s management team. Just how emasculated the club is when it comes to Beckham was again clearly in evidence Wednesday. Stories were pouring out of Europe that AC Milan was close to signing the 33-year-old midfielder to a short-term loan deal during the MLS off-season. “We are speaking with his agent, but we believe he will arrive for some months on a free loan,” said Adriano Galliani, AC Milan’s vice president. “Beckham has chosen Milan. Our squad is ultra-competitive and it will remain this way, but Beckham is something different and intriguing.” Media reports across the continent were feverishly speculating on whether this could turn into a full-fledged trade, with Beckham returning triumphant to take his place again among the game’s elite players in Europe and abandon the experiment of trying to turn MLS from a soccer backwater into a soccer hotbed. Big-name players and coaches were quoted. Pundits rushed to get their opinions onto the Internet, on the air and into print. And the Galaxy? The Galaxy had no idea what was happening. Beckham opted not to be available to reporters after the team’s training session Wednesday in Carson, and no Galaxy official had the clout or the guts to make him face the media. The front office never even issued a news release. Bruce Arena, who wears two hats as the Galaxy’s coach and general manager, appeared bemused by it all. “I’ve spent not a second of my day even thinking about it, to be honest,” Arena said. “On the surface, it sounds like an odd proposition. I don’t see where that benefits MLS or the Galaxy. I don’t know if there’s anything true in the rumor.” Arena says that as far as he understands soccer’s rules, a player loan has to cover the entire period between two transfer windows, in this case from January to June, meaning that Beckham would miss the first three months of the 2009 MLS season. “The first I heard about it was today . . . but I would think [given] the position the Galaxy is in and [the fact that] we’re rebuilding our team and trying to have a successful year, it would seem very odd to me if we were loaning out our top players at the start of the season. It would seem pretty odd to me to operate that way.” … The only word from the Beckham camp came from Simon Oliveira of 19 Entertainment. “David’s intention is to maintain his fitness and keep himself eligible for England selection,” Oliveira said. “He very much remains a Galaxy player and he would be in Los Angeles for the start of the 2009 MLS season.” … Said AC Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti: “For me, it will be a pleasure. Beckham is a serious athlete, a great professional.” … Beckham has long insisted that he wants to take part in the World Cup in South Africa and will do whatever is necessary to be on the England team. To do so, he has to prove that he still has what it takes at the highest level. That’s why a permanent move to AC Milan, if it can be accomplished, is in his best interests. As for the Galaxy, the Beckham circus could fold its tents and then the club could go back to being what it once was — competitive in MLS.
There appears to be a bitter tone to this LA Times piece … but considering that neither Beckham nor the Milan team actually denied anything seems telling. In the end, tho, the LA Galaxy does have Becks tied up in an iron-clad contract … one that they paid a lot of money for. I don’t think that they are interested in losing out on that investment. Whether that means they would not be amenable to the loan is another story altogether. While I can understand how David Beckham may want to prolong his professional soccer career in Europe, I don’t really understand why he would sign a multiyear, very lucrative contract with a US team and expect to still be able to play on European teams whenever he likes. At this point, the whole story is just rumor and conjecture. My guess is that if Becks is loaned out to Italy he will have to be back by the start of next year’s MLS season — or the loan deal won’t happen. If the LA Galaxy, who paid out all those megamillions, is stupid enough to loan out their star player at the cost of him missing out 3 months of US play then they are really very stupid, IMHO. There’s a lot of talk going on right now … we’ll have to see if any of it actually comes to mean anything.
[Photo credit: Splash News; Source]