5 Clubs Who Would Benefit from Signing David Beckham
Ever since David Beckham announced last week that the MLS Cup Final would be his final match for the L.A. Galaxy, speculation has been rife as to where he will go next.
The former England captain says he will be leaving the Galaxy after six seasons in order to take up "one last challenge" before he hangs up his boots, and there will be no shortage of suitors willing to give him that opportunity.
With the option of joining another MLS franchise seemingly not on the agenda, Beckham could choose to take his 37-year-old body and multimillion dollar brand to almost any corner of the globe.
Here are five clubs that would benefit from adding Becks to their squad.
West Ham United
East London born and bred, the prospect of Beckham returning home for one final hurrah would be an exciting one for the fans down at Upton Park.
Both Hammers co-owner David Gold and manager Sam Allardyce have admitted they would love to have Beckham on their books, although Allardyce did cheekily say that Beckham would have to prove his fitness first (via The Sun).
Beckham has been credited with playing a big part in London winning the right to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, and he could help the Games' legacy with West Ham hoping to move to the Olympic Stadium in the next few years.
However, the chances of Beckham turning out for any other Premier League side apart from his beloved Manchester United or West Ham being able to afford him are rather remote, meaning Allardyce will be left to daydream about the succession of long balls raining in from the right flank aimed at Andy Carroll's head.
European football's latest nouveau-riche club have already shown they are not shy about investing heavily in star names, as their summer acquisitions of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi proved.
As PSG aim to establish themselves as a global brand for UEFA's financial fair play rules, signing Beckham would be an excellent asset for them to market themselves to the English-speaking world.
In fact, Ibrahimovic has already urged Beckham to join, saying (via ESPN FC): "I am sure there will be many offers for him from clubs all over the world, but it is a very exciting project here in Paris and if he still wants more trophies then this is the right club for him to join."
There also needs to be the obligatory mention of Paris being the fashion capital of the world, ergo Beckham's wife will be happy, so here it is.
Central Coast Mariners
An odd and unexpected precursor to Beckham announcing his decision to leave the Galaxy came the previous week, when his representatives moved quickly to quash reports that he was headed to Australia.
It seems that, in their excitement at being linked with such an iconic name, Football Federation Australia jumped the gun on revealing they had held preliminary talks with the Beckham camp over possibly signing him up for an A-League franchise.
Despite that, Australia remains a destination high on the list of potential destinations.
The Australian reports that Central Coast Mariners, a franchise based about 50 miles north of Sydney, appear to be the front-runners to sign Beckham should he decide to move Down Under for a 10-match guest stint.
According to the report, the Mariners' millionaire backer, John Singleton, could tempt Beckham to New South Wales with the offer of a private beach house and a helicopter for the duration of his stay.
A move to Brazil has also been mooted for Beckham in the media, with Corinthians often cited as a club interested in signing him.
The Sao Paulo are fit in the Brazilian league with one match of the season left to play, but they will feature in the Copa Libertadores next season as defending champions.
The opportunity to play in another continental championship could be a strong lure for Beckham, and the flourishing Brazilian economy would give Corinthians a good chance of finding investment for them to be able to afford him.
With the World Cup coming to Brazil in little more than 18 months, Beckham would also help raise the profile of the country's domestic game in the buildup to the tournament and make Corinthians a household name in the process.
China is another emerging economy whose growth has been mirrored by its football league.
While the overall quality of the Chinese Super League may not be world class, stars such as Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Seydou Keita have all been lured there by big wages.
The former two of those players ply their trade in Shanghai, China's most glamorous metropolis.
Operating without the constraints of any financial regulations imposed by the governing body, Shenhua are free to throw as much money as they please at Beckham in a bid to bring him to a market where his brand is so strong and ready to be exploited.