Friday, February 13, 2009

Still around... for now

Looks like David Beckham won't stay in Italy after all. Well, not sold on that but that's what the Galaxy said earlier today.

Here's the official statement from Bruce Arena:

Today's deadline imposed by Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber regarding a resolution of David Beckham's potential transfer to AC Milan has passed and we did not receive an acceptable offer for the player. As a result, David remains an LA Galaxy player and we look forward to having him back with the club starting March 9.

My take: I don't believe we've seen the end of this. The Galaxy know they have the advantage in this situation. They don't have to do anything; they don't have to get rid of Beckham, they don't have to meet any deadline (today's deadline wasn't imposed by them), they don't have to negotiate for anything. Beckham is their player and that's that. Milan is the club that wants him, and Beckham wants to stay. So Milan will have to pay extra to get him because the Galaxy don't have to get rid of him.

Now, the Galaxy also knows that Beckham has an escape clause, at least that's what has been reported. If he can walk at the end of the 2009 season, then maybe it's something to consider. But there's no guarantee that Milan would want him back in October or November or whenever he'd be free to go abroad, reportedly.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see more negotiations on the part of Milan. Supposedly they were sending some people over to talk to the Galaxy face-to-face. If they turn up, what are the Galaxy going to say: Mr. Garber says we can't talk anymore? No. Not a chance. If Milan people show up, expect the Galaxy to listen.

Besides, there's the negative PR that could come from all of this. Many Galaxy fans have expressed some form of dissatisfaction with Golden Balls, and frankly I can't blame them. On the field, the Galaxy is a shadow of its former greatness. Off the field, there are priorities in place that weren't there four years ago. The atmosphere at times around the Galaxy is arrogant and pompous, and that certainly wasn't the case four years ago, even after they won the double. A lot of that has to do with Beckham, because they certainly haven't won jack since 2005. The Galaxy would be better off continuing to negotiate with Milan and try and get rid of Beckham. I'm sure that Milan will come back with another offer, probably higher than the $10 million or whatever has been reported. That's a nice bit of money for any player, even Beckham. They can start putting the focus back on soccer - they're going to make money anyway, with or without Beckham.

Anyway, Beckham is still property of the Galaxy, and the team still is counting on him to return on March 9. But that does not mean we've seen the end of this drama.


East River said...

MLS is seriously running the risk of damaging its ability to get future big named players to bother coming into the league with this one. The likes of Deco and Henry will think three times now about if they want to go to a league that honestly has tendency of not letting players go when they clearly express a desire to leave.

Does MLS really believe that fans will want to see Beckham play now? Whats the selling point "Come see Becks play in his last season in America before heading back to the big time"? The man clearly lost interest last season and I can not expect it will get any better. Though he may honor his contract he may just sit out saying he's hurt.

MLS/LAG may have tons of friendlies lined up again that require a Becks appearance but the WOW factor is gone and I can't believe they really expect to get so much out of him that its worth damaging the league long term prospects.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you East River. I've been saying that if MLS plays too much hardball it might cause superstars who are interested in playing in MLS to think twice about a move, or wait till they are much older when they know they have absolutely nothing to offer European soccer or their national teams.

A better way to have handled this is to just play it out until the actual deadline and not the artificial one that Garber created. I know some people are praising Garber for doing this saying it lets Euro teams know that MLS needs to be taken seriously, but does it really send that message? I'm sure when AC Milan were told about that they most likely snickered at the idea that MLS was trying to puff their chests against them. AC Milan doesn't need Beckham in order for them to cave to such a ridiculous threat.