MILAN // David Beckham's agent is in talks with Italian giants AC Milan over a loan deal for the Los Angeles Galaxy and England midfielder, the Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said today. "Will he arrive? I believe so, yes. He will stay here at Milan on loan for some months, we are talking about it with his agent," Galliani told Milan's official website. The 33-year-old, who made his name at Manchester United where he won the 1999 Champions League as part of an incredible treble triumph that also included the Premier League and FA Cup, is one of the most famous and marketable footballers to ever play the game and the Rossoneri will look to cash in on his name on and off the field.
"We will keep him for some months and then he will leave. Beckham has chosen Milan," Galliani added. "Our squad is ultra-competitive and it will stay like that but Beckham is something different and intriguing." Media reports said Beckham would join in January during the US Major League Soccer (MLS) close season in a bid to stay in the England coach Fabio Capello's plans ahead of the 2010 World Cup. During the last MLS close season, Beckham trained at the Premier League club Arsenal at their London Colney facilities.
Rumours of Beckham at least training with Milan have increased in the last week. The Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was excited by the idea. "For me it will be a pleasure. Beckham is a serious athlete, a great professional," he told Milan's website. "If he will be available for four months with us, we will be very happy. If he becomes available for Milan it will obviously be both in Italy (Serie A) and in Europe (Uefa Cup)."
Ancelotti said on Saturday that the club had been close to signing him in the past but gave no details. Beckham joined the LA Galaxy in 2007 from Real Madrid where he had spent four years following an acrimonious departure from United. His risky move to the United States was marketed as an attempt to boost football's popularity there but recently the challenge has begun to look beyond him. His team constantly struggle they are second from bottom in the Western standings in the MLS and he is no longer an England first-team regular under Capello, who has questioned the strength of the MLS while concerns are constantly raised about the distances he has to travel to meet up with the England party.
Galaxy play their final match of the MLS season against Dallas on Sunday. Beckham came on as a late substitute in last Wednesday's 3-1 win in Belarus in a World Cup qualifier to pick up his 107th England cap. He only has Peter Shilton (125) and Bobby Moore (108) ahead of him in the all-time England appearances list and a desire to break the record may have contributed to his decision to talk to Milan.
The Serie A giants struggled last season and finished fifth in Serie A to miss out on a place in this term's Champions League. They spent an initial fee of US$27.06 million (Dh101.3m) on the Brazilian international Ronaldinho in the close season in an effort to challenge the like of their city rivals Inter Milan, as well as Roma and Juventus. Galliani has often warned that cash is at a premium at Milan and it took them several months to strike a deal for Ronaldinho given high wage and transfer fee demands.
Media reports said Beckham would join on loan for free. *Reuters