We’ve mostly managed to avoid this story around these parts, but now that something sort of halfway official has been decided we’re gonna have to bite the bullet and, you know…talk about Beckham.
Becks, as you are probably aware, secured himself a nice little loan deal with AC Milan back in October. You could probably have written the writing on the wall back when Carlo Ancelotti said that he’d like to sign Beckham long-term back in November; anyone blindsided by this entire affair is either hopelessly naive or just not paying attention.
With Beckham’s loan deal about to expire, Beckham clear about not wanting to return, and AC Milan clear about not wanting to pay MLS for him, something was going to have to give. The MLS have taken a rather hard line on this, which is both good and bad. On one hand, it’s important to protect your property, and Beckham’s under contract with the MLS. On the other, he’s eligible to buy himself out in October and has already stated that he doesn’t want to play for the Galaxy; bringing him back to play at a sub-par level without any drive or desire seems silly.
Fortunately, AC Milan and the MLS are not above sharing their cash cow. Per the Guardian, this is the compromise that’s been worked out between the two clubs:
- Beckham will remain with AC Milan until the end of the Serie A season.
- Following the conclusion of the season on May 31st (when AC Milan is scheduled to play Fiorentina), Beckham will take a month off and return to the LA Galaxy in July.
- Following the conclusion of the Galaxy’s season in October, Beckham will use his own money to activate a buyout clause in his contract, freeing him to play with Milan as soon as November.
- Since Beckham will be moving between clubs outside of the transfer window, this would technically constitute a player loan. As such, he’d be looking at having to re-do a long term deal with Milan at the end of next season. Exactly how all of that works I don’t quite understand.
- As many sources have pointed out, doing the deal this way means that Beckham will be forgoing the summer break most European players are afforded. Serie A gets a winter break, though, which he’ll probably really need by the time it rolls around.
One thing that’s unclear at this point is his availability for international games. Beckham’s whole purpose in doing this is to stay fit for the 2010 World Cup, and to amass as many caps as possible as an England national. Part of amassing caps is to play in the international games, and there are two World Cup qualifying matches within the duration of this loan: there’s a 9/9/09 fixture against Croatia and a 10/10/09 fixture against Belarus that fall within the time span of his return to the MLS. One would have to assume that Becks will be taking off the 9/12/09 Galaxy match against FC Dallas; his availability for the 10/18/09 clash against Houston could also be questionable.
All told, this is a colossal mess, and the MLS probably should’ve just taken whatever money AC Milan was willing to give them to let him go. The bad press of a disgruntled superstar playing in your league is far more damaging than an amicable parting would’ve been.