I think it was Alexi Lalas who said that the Galaxy would never loan David Beckham. He's not around anymore, obviously, and neither is that sentiment. Becks is on his way to AC Milan, a deal much discussed for several weeks now.
According to a press release, Beckham will join AC Milan effective January 2009 but will report back to the Galaxy "for training and the start of the 2009 MLS season."
Now, this deal does not signal the end of the Becks experiment. Rather, it's being spun as a move to help further Beckham's international career, and of course AC Milan likely stands to make millions in jersey sales and such.
But this move on many levels does not make sense? What of the Galaxy and his priorities here? Beckham is the team's best player... supposedly, though Landon Donovan made a good case for his significance this season with 20 goals and nine assists. What message does Beckham's move overseas send about his commitment to the Galaxy? And to MLS?
This type of deal is unprecedented, I believe. I don't recall player for whom rules were bent so it's difficult to put into context. If Beckham is injured and misses significant time with the Galaxy next season, the deal will be severely frowned upon. If Beckham does well with Milan, however, and gets back to his top form - which he clearly was not at in 2008 - perhaps it is of benefit to the Galaxy. Regardless, though, it seems as if there are many negatives - if not more - than positives on Becks' trip back across the pond.
Bruce Arena will be on a conference call later this afternoon. If I have a chance, I'll jump on it. If not, there will be plenty of stories on the matter later.