|Beckham will travel with Galaxy for their three-game postseason tour of Asia and Australia and then finish his contract with LA at the end of December [GALLO/GETTY]|
According to sources at Paris St. Germain, there is a 50-50 chance that David Beckham will sign with the French club in the New Year.
But given Beckham’s obsession with playing at the 2012 London Olympics, a move to the British capital would make a lot more sense.
Flushed with Qatari funds and with a reputation as perennial under-achievers, PSG are known as the Manchester City of France for good reason.
However, as they are probably where the Citizens were 18 months ago in terms of their development and stability, a spell at the Parc des Princes might be risky.
Of course, Beckham slotted in seamlessly in Italy’s Serie A over two different loan spells with AC Milan, in 2009 and 2010. But, turning 37 in May, it may well be a more difficult proposition to quickly adapt to Ligue 1, full of relatively young players looking for a springboard into Europe’s bigger championships.
Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers head the list of suitors from the English Premier League. Either London club would potentially be a good destination for him.
Beckham trained with Spurs last season and was on the verge of a stint on-loan at his former junior club before a last-minute hitch. The north London side’s fluent style and superstar cast would definitely appeal, not to mention his warm relationship with manager Harry Redknapp.
The downside would possibly be not getting enough game time in a squad overflowing with creative midfielders. Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce has made it clear that he will only select those who are playing regularly.
The advantage of QPR is that Beckham will almost certainly be a regular starter, despite unconvincing murmurs this week from manager Neil Warnock that the veteran might just be a squad player at Loftus Road.
If a fit Beckham turns up at Shepherds Bush, you can bet your last ‘tenner’ that he’ll start. One wonders if Warnock’s comments were cooked up so the recently promoted side wouldn’t look too eager in their pursuit.
QPR’s new owner, Tony Fernandes, has also been talking up the possibility of signing Beckham in recent weeks, as he gets ready to spend big in the January transfer window.
The canny Malaysian knows how powerful an image of the world’s most famous sportsman on some of his AirAsia fleet could be.
Having cut his teeth at the biggest club in the world from Manchester, Beckham might turn his nose up at playing for the far less fashionable Londoners. But if he takes stock of an intriguing chapter from more than three decades ago at nearby Fulham, maybe he’d change his mind.
A quirk of fate meant that three decorated internationals – George Best, Rodney Marsh and Bobby Moore – played in the same Fulham team in England’s second division in the 1976-77 season.
|An unexpected dream team: Moore, Best and Marsh joined forces as Fulham in 1976 [GETTY]|
All were in their 30s and approaching the twilight of their careers. And like Beckham, they had come from the United States, where they’d been earning big money in the old North American Soccer League.
And they would return to America, post-Fulham.
And yet the attractive style they created together at Craven Cottage not only brought smiles to the fans, but to their own faces. At a so-called small club, the pressure was off and the trio could freely express themselves.
“It’s probably the most enjoyable game that I’ve ever played in my life,” a YouTube clip shows Marsh saying after scoring twice in Fulham’s 4-1 victory over Hereford in a televised match in September 1976.
The cash-conscious Cottagers haven’t bid for Beckham. But QPR might be a good fit, especially if Fernandes signs the big-name striker that he’s said to be targeting.
We saw how Beckham quickly formed a good partnership with Ireland captain Robbie Keane as the pair set up Landon Donovan’s winning goal for LA Galaxy in last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup final.
It would make little sense for Beckham to extend his contract in Los Angeles after his up-and-down five years in the MLS. If he walks away now, he leaves as a winner and his well-documented, earlier problems will be largely forgotten over time.
There’s no doubt that joining PSG would be a more challenging and high profile assignment. But with that, comes the ‘circus’ element that surely his young family could do without.
Presumably, the Beckhams see their long-term future in Britain, rather than in France or the United States. Chasing a gold medal at the London Olympics is the one burning ambition for next year.
So if he’s looking at pure football reasons – getting lots of games under his belt to push for selection in a familiar environment – heading back to his old hometown has many plus points with less than six months from the end of the January transfer window to the lighting of the torch at London’s XXXth Olympiad.
The big question is: will commercial interests and the attraction of the unknown over-ride common sense for David Robert Joseph Beckham?
Jason Dasey is an Asia-based international sports broadcaster and host of Football Fever, the world’s first international soccer podcast with an Asia-Pacific perspective. Twitter: JasonDasey
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