Saturday, February 14, 2009

Milan fail in bid to sign Beckham

David Beckham is to return to LA Galaxy after AC Milan failed to agree a deal before a US league deadline.

Milan had a £5m bid for the 33-year-old rejected last week and Major League Soccer ordered the clubs to agree a permanent move by Friday.

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement that no acceptable offer had been received. The club says no late offer would be considered.

Beckham's loan spell at the Serie A club ends on 8 March.

The England international, who equalled Bobby Moore's England record of 108 caps for an outfield player in Wednesday's 2-0 defeat against Spain in Seville, has become a regular for Milan's since his arrival in January.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti urged the club to "make sacrifices" to keep the midfielder at the San Siro, while Beckham had remained "hopeful" a deal would go through.

"It is something I want to happen, but we have to wait and see," said Beckham ahead of Sunday's top-of-the-table derby clash with Inter.

But Milan failed to meet the Galaxy's valuation of their star, reportedly in excess of £10m.

"Today's deadline imposed by Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber regarding a resolution of David Beckham's potential transfer to AC Milan has passed and we did not receive an acceptable offer for the player," said Arena.

"As a result, David remains an LA Galaxy player and we look forward to having him back with the club starting March 9."

Beckham had moved to Milan on loan in a bid to revive his England career after national head coach Fabio Capello said he needed to be playing more competitive football.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star made an immediate impression at the San Siro, impressing both Ancelotti and his team-mates with his professionalism and work ethic.

He also made a big impact on the pitch, scoring on his third appearance and netting with a trademark free-kick in the recent win over Genoa, a game watched by Capello.

His form prompted Milan to pursue the idea of keeping him permanently, with the player himself keen to remain.

But the chief executive of Galaxy owners AEG, Tim Leiweke, insisted there would be no back-tracking and Beckham would continue his career in the MLS once the loan deal ran out.

"We don't want to entertain any more conversations now," Leiweke told the told the Los Angeles Times.

"It is a distraction to Bruce Arena, the team and the fans, and we move on. That's the last we're going to talk about this."

Asked what would happen should the Italian return with an improved offer, Leiweke said the club "owe it to our fans" not to consider it.

"They've been reading all these stories and we lose credibility by the day," he said.

"That's not fair. We owe it to Bruce and we owe it to the rest of the team. We're a month away from our season."

Last week, the Galaxy rejected Milan's first bid for Beckham, who has scored two goals in his short stint with the Italian giants.

Leiweke insists the Rossoneri have never come close to meeting AEG's and the league's asking price.

"They've never been in the ballpark," he said. "What they've tried to do is use David and use us.

"We're not going to play that game any more. This has been extremely damaging and distracting for our team.

"I've been as courteous and as gracious as I possibly can out of respect for David, but now it's time to move on. We need to get David excited about the team we're building here and coming back."

Leiweke also did not think Beckham would consider buying himself out of his contract in order to complete the move.

"I doubt it," Leiweke said. "I don't think that's his intent. Nor would I encourage him to even think about that."

US football expert Sean Wheelock told BBC Radio 5 Live that he thought Beckham could still end up at Milan.

"Until I actually see a definite statement coming out of the New York offices of MLS soccer and quotes of the league commissioner, Don Garber, I don't believe that this matter is resolved," said Wheelock.

"I still think that there is a chance - albeit a slim one - that David Beckham could stay permanently at AC Milan and may not return to LA Galaxy. I just don't think this is a resolved matter."

Source: BBCi

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