There has been a lot written about the “timeshare” arrangement between the LA Galaxy and AC Milan for the services of a certain David Beckham. The deals and sub-deals are confusing but I will try to explain it as best I can.
Basically AC Milan agreed to pay MLS $1 million to extend the current two-month loan until the end of the season. In addition Beckham paid $3 million himself to continue the loan deal paid and an exhibition game between the Galaxy and AC Milan was arranged for July 19th. Milan were already scheduled to tour the US this summer and had three games scheduled. What they did was extend the tour by one game. In addition to the Galaxy game, AC Milan are rumored to be playing Chelsea in Baltimore in July.
Last week MLS Commissioner Don Garber mentioned that one of the “major deal points” of the negotiations was the modification of Beckham’s opt-out escape clause. Basically Beckham had the right to walk away from MLS at the end of the summer, but now he will have to buy himself out. of his contract. Published reports have the value of the buyout as high as $11 million.
I am not sure why Beckham would agree to this change. Come November Beckham is going to have to cough up $11 million if he wants to play for AC Milan next year, which is what he needs to do if he is going to play for England in the 2010 world cup.
In an interview with the Sun last week Beckham said:
“I have a right to own an MLS franchise, which I will action immediately after I have stopped playing football.” Beckham claimed he was pleased with the deal because “it allows me to continue my commitment to develop soccer in the United States, which is something I’m passionate about,” and “my family is happy and settled and will remain in Los Angeles.”
There is no word from MLS on whether this is a new franchise that Beckham will get getting or when this will happen. I would expect that Beckham will retire in the next two years, so does that mean that Beckham will be getting a franchise that will play in the 2012 season? With Beckham’s profile and status, there are not many cities that Posh would be happy spending time in. So does that mean that the Miami franchise option is back on the table?
I expect that the MLS will crank up the publicity in anticipation of Beckham’s return this summer. Unlike in 2007 when he first came to the U.S., will anyone be paying attention this time?