Beckham in talks to join AC Milan
MILAN (Reuters) - Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham is in talks with AC Milan over a short-term loan deal which will enable him to stay in contention for the England team during the U.S. close season.
"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," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani told Milan's official website (www.acmilan.com) on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old, who made his name at Manchester United where he won the 1999 Champions League, is one of the most marketable players and Milan will look to cash in on his fame.
"We will keep him for some months and then he will leave. Beckham has chosen Milan," said Galliani. "Our squad is ultra-competitive and it will stay like that but Beckham is something different and intriguing."
A spokesman for Beckham said talks over a short-term deal were ongoing. "As yet nothing has been confirmed," he added.
Galaxy play their final match of the Major League Soccer season against Dallas on Sunday and if a deal is agreed, Beckham would join Milan in January before returning to Los Angeles for the start of their new campaign in late March.
England coach Fabio Capello, whose side have won four out four as they bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, has hinted he would only pick Beckham for February's proposed friendly with Spain if he was playing.
During the last MLS close season, Beckham trained at English Premier League club Arsenal but was overlooked by Capello.
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 Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 from Real Madrid where he had spent four years after leaving United.
His risky move to the United States was marketed as an attempt to boost soccer's popularity there but recently the challenge has begun to look beyond him.
His team constantly struggled -- they are second from bottom in the Western standings in the MLS -- and he is no longer an England first-team regular under Capello.
Beckham was a late substitute in last Wednesday's 3-1 win in Belarus in a World Cup qualifier to pick up his 107th 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 has prompted his decision to talk to Milan.
The Italian club, who won their seventh European Cup in 2007, 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 21 million euros (16.7 million pounds) on Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho in the close season and Beckham's arrival could further boost their hopes this term.
"Brand Beckham is still a global phenomenon and even in these difficult economic times his star appeal in parts of the world such as the Middle East and Asia will see AC Milan netting up to 10 million pounds, just for a short stay," Professor Simon Chadwick, director of the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University, said in a statement.
"Many of the world's finest footballers have represented the Rossoneri, but Beckham is in his own league when it comes to global impact."
(Editing by Jon Bramley and Alan Baldwin)
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