Manchester City Linked with $100 Million MLS Deal Including David Beckham

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2012

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 01:  David Beckham #23 of Los Angeles Galaxy drinks out of the MLS Trophy after the Galaxy defeat the Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the 2012 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on December 1, 2012 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Manchester City are a club who have been on a definite upward trajectory over the past few years.

The latest news is that they seem to want to go global by purchasing a franchise in the MLS—and hire David Beckham as part of the deal.

Manchester Evening News reports that the Etihad Stadium club are willing to pay a record US$100 million to be awarded a new expansion team based in Queens, which would be called New York City.

The creation of this team would immediately give a close-proximity rival to current MLS club New York Red Bulls and initiate perhaps the beginning of the biggest local derby match in the professional game Stateside.

The same report also highlights that a 25,000 capacity stadium would be built as part of the project, while David Beckham's representatives have been approached about an "unspecified role" within the club.

Beckham is currently a free agent having come to the end of his contract with LA Galaxy, where he won the MLS Cup in his final match just a couple of weeks ago.

He has been linked with moves to clubs all over the globe, as he seeks, perhaps, a final move before retirement.

Australian clubs, English Premier League teams and Ligue 1 sides from France are all said to be interested.

LA Galaxy have been the recent dominant force in MLS having won the past two editions of the Cup, beating Houston Dynamo in the final on both occasions.

From the point of view of the league, and the potential new expansion team, questions have to be asked about future involvement of Manchester City, both from the positive and negative perspective.

There is, of course, the possibility that simply because the new team will be attached to, or affiliated with, Manchester City that players will be more willing to sign for them.  New York has its own attractions, of course, as will the possibility of being involved in a club with presumable ambitions to rival Galaxy as the dominant force.

Being owned by group with prior experience in running a football club would be another bonus—though of course there are plenty of differences between administrating a team in the Premier League and one in MLS. Registration of players, salary issues and transfer methods being just a small handful of such differences.

For the league itself, will interest in the MLS increase because a new team is affiliated with Manchester City?

Presumably, there is deemed to be sufficient interest for a new team regardless of the owners—would the rest of the country, in footballing terms, harbour resentment towards the new franchise because they are associated with rich owners known for splashing the cash?

Of course, if the deal does proceed, it might be looked upon as the next step, the next progression for the league post-Beckham era.

The former England midfielder has left his mark on the game in the USA, and now that he has departed—for now, at least—is another big "brand" name required to push on and capture the imagination of the watching public once more?

Consider the situation from the opposite side of the desk—what's in it for City and their owners? Are they looking to run a second successful club, fighting for trophies, or merely looking for an outlet for the Manchester City FC brand?

Will it be an upmarket, overseas version of an Academy? A pooling of trans-Atlantic talent?

Doubtless, there is a long time yet to run on this story before any answers are revealed.

As for Manchester City themselves, Bloomberg quotes them as saying, "Manchester City are not buying an MLS club"—though, of course, any future expansion team are not right now an MLS club, so the rebuttal is essentially a non-answer in that context.

For now, we'll watch this space. The MLS is soon to face expansion regardless of who the eventual owners are, and David Beckham himself has been mooted previously as a possible owner.

His movements over the next month might go some distance in determining how much relevance the Manchester City/New York City link has.

Just don't expect him to line up alongside Carlos Tevez et al any time soon.