David Beckham: What His Proposed Loan Move Means For MLS
Goldenballs is a man that requires no introduction. Undoubtedly one of the most recognised man on the planet, David Beckham's skills have earned him legendary status.
When he was just a young lad at United, everybody knew his name, and everybody wanted a piece of him. Then came the marriage to the Spice Girl, the celebrity status and the lifestyle to go along with it.
Becks joined the MLS with the LA Galaxy in the summer of 2007, and was to be an ambassador for the sport in the United States.
The move came at a time when many believed he was past his best, over the hill, and unlikely to make any impact as a player, but Beckham has proved his doubters wrong.
Beckham had a tough start to his MLS career, with injury set-backs from day one, and disappointing team performances by Galaxy, but over time, began to settle in. He became the player he was supposed to be, and lifted his whole team who still failed to qualify for the end of season playoffs.
It was this new found form, along with his performances for the England national team, that attracted interest from Italian giants AC Milan.
Beckham was supposed to be on loan from the end of the 2008 season, until the beginning of the 2009 season, but that loan was extended to July, which angered many Galaxy fans. Upon his return, however, the club improved dramatically and reached the playoff final, where they were defeated in a penalty shootout by Real Salt Lake.
But it was his next stint at Milan which really stirred controversy.
The move was supposed to help him in his bid for World Cup selection, and he played well, and was almost certain to make it to the World Cup, before suffering a serious injury which would sideline him for 6 months.
Bad news for Beckham, bad news for England and bad news for Galaxy.
Beckham has since recovered from the injury, and played the last few games of last season for Galaxy. Now, with England coach Fabio Capello feeling he is possibly too old for England selection, he looks to defy the odds again.
With another loan move, this time to England, where he is currently training with Tottenham Hotspur.
Galaxy have informed Tottenham that he can play, but will be required in LA in February for pre-season training. Tottenham are looking for an extra month, and want to keep Beckham until March. Both clubs have a valid reason. Galaxy want to avoid another injury to their prized asset, and Tottenham feel such a short deal is hardly worth the bother.
The move will certainly benefit Beckham. It will probably benefit Tottenham, as it appears that Becks can still produce the goods, and if it benefits Tottenham, it will benefit England, who will see their hero don the Three Lions again.
Galaxy however, will surely be wondering how the deal benefits them, as will the MLS Chiefs.
Beckham was supposed to be an ambassador for the sport, and improve his side, but he seems to have spent as much time at the doctor's as he has spent on the pitch. Whilst this doesn't stop him working to improve the stature of the club or the league, if you don't produce on the pitch, your reputation will suffer.
MLS has started to attract many other star names of late, such as Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez's move from FC Barcelona to New York Redbulls, and Freddy Ljunberg's move to the Seattle Sounders (though he has since joined Celtic.) Many of their players have started to build reputations of their own as well, due in part to USA's World Cup qualification, as well as loan moves to Europe.
Loan moves for younger players will do such things, and success in Europe will always prove a player's worth, but it also attracts interest.
Since Landon Donovan's successful stint with Everton, many European clubs have attempted to sign him on a permanent deal. Such a move would be disastrous to MLS, and the fear is that Beckham's loan would do the same. While Donovan is USA through and through, therefore more likely to remain in the USA, Beckham is English, and he loves English football.
If Manchester United, just for argument's sake, came knocking for Beckham again, he would probably try to force his way out of Galaxy, and the club, and league, would likely lose their talisman.
Allowing Beckham to play for Tottenham for any measurable length of time could be disastrous for Galaxy and MLS. England fans would love to see Beckham back home, Tottenham fans would love to see him parade in their kit, but if he performed well, it could mean disaster for MLS. Should Beckham leave the USA now, the whole project would have been a waste of time.
Galaxy's proposition to Tottenham seems the best thing for them at this point. Whilst Spurs will feel it is too short a deal, LA have the right to protect their prized asset from injury, along with detracting interest from other clubs. It may well be a case that Tottenham have to like it or lump it. If they don't want Beckham for such a short time, they may not get him at all.
For Beckham, the most important thing is simply to impress in training with Tottenham, and perform well at Galaxy, and perhaps Capello will come calling again. England have the power to scout worldwide for their selections, and if Capello is not willing to send somebody to America to watch Beckham play, or catch a game on TV, then it is possible he is just too stubborn to go back on his word anyway.
Hopefully it will work out for all parties. In an ideal world, Tottenham will take Beckham for what time they can, Beckham will play well, return to Galaxy, continue to play well and be picked for England again.
With Capello's future hanging in the balance, it may well be Spurs manager Harry Redknapp in the England hot-seat before long. Beckham should simply do his best to impress everybody, and keep people on his side.
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