On Thursday, David Beckham was unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player. Just two days down the line, after PSG had marked his arrival with a 4-0 Ligue 1 victory, the question is over where David Beckham fits into the masterplan at the club.
PSG maintained their place at the top of the standings with a comfortable victory over Toulouse on Friday, Beckham not being included due to a lack of fitness having not played competitively since leaving Los Angeles Galaxy.
Untried in French football, Beckham should have little trouble in adapting to life in Ligue 1. He had the same scenario when signing for Real Madrid and then in two loans spells AC Milan later in his career.
But he coped with the demands of La Liga and Serie A, two leagues that apparently would not be suited to his style of play.
There are some familiar faces to him already at PSG—the management team of Carlo Ancelotti and Leonardo were the two men in charge at AC Milan where Beckham was on loan in 2009 and again in 2010. His teammates during that time including the now PSG captain Thiago Silva.
The question mark is over where Beckham fits into a PSG team which has dropped just two points in an unbeaten eight-game spell in Ligue 1 dating back to the start of December. Significantly, they haven’t conceded a goal in that time.
The PSG formation—a 4-2-3-1—lends itself to Beckham playing the central midfield quarterback role we have come to expect from him in recent years.
He certainly does not have the pace to fill one of the wide roles with Argentine Ezequiel Lavezzi, Brazilian Lucas Moura or Frenchmen Jeremy Menez the preferred choice of Ancelotti to provide ammunition to the lone forward Ibrahimovic, with Argentine Javier Pastore occupying the playmaker role behind him.
But one of the two deep-lying, or holding midfield roles, is where Beckham is likely to be deployed—just as he was when on loan at AC Milan as he teamed up with Clarence Seedorf in the heart of midfield.
Prior to Beckham’s arrival, the options available to Ancelotti to fill the central roles were France’s Blaise Matuidi and Italians Marco Verratti and Thiaggo Motta, although the latter has been absent through injury at regular periods.
Beckham is likely to be used to provide a calming influence alongside one of the younger Matuidi or Verratti at times, more often in the slower-paced Ligue 1 than in the Champions League in which PSG face Valencia in the final 16.
Time will tell if he is a success, but on previous evidence of his moves to new leagues then Beckham can be a hit in Paris.