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Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 08:46 UK

Milan confident of Beckham switch

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The reason behind Beckham's AC Milan move

David Beckham's negotiations to join AC Milan on loan in January are "going really well" according to the Italian club's technical director, Leonardo.

Beckham, 33, hopes a short-term deal will help him stay fit for England duty with Los Angeles Galaxy's Major League Soccer season ending this weekend.

"I think it is a real possibility for us," Leonardo told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Beckham's agent Simon Oliveira and MLS commissioner Don Garber both stressed any move would only be for two months.

"Nothing is confirmed yet, but the intention is to go to AC Milan on loan for January and February," Oliveira said.

"He would be going there with the view to keeping fit and being available for selection for England. The idea is he then goes back to the Galaxy to join up with their pre-season in March.

"He will not be joining AC Milan permanently. He had a five-year contract with the Galaxy and has three years left and every intention of fulfilling that."

Garber confirmed that discussions have taken place between Milan and the Galaxy over the possibility of a short-term loan agreement, although the news came as a surprise to Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena.

He is a good man and the move will work for everybody

Leonardo
"On the surface it sounds like an odd proposition, I don't see where that benefits MLS or the Galaxy," Arena said.

"I would think the position that the Galaxy are in, that we're rebuilding our team and trying to have a successful year, it would seem very odd to me to be loaning out our top players."

Beckham signed a five-year contract with MLS in 2007 and is coming to the end of his second season in America, with the 2009 campaign due to kick off in March.

WHAT NEXT FOR BECKHAM?
26 Oct - LA Galaxy's season ends
19 Nov - Germany v England
6 Dec - Galaxy tour of Australia and NZ begins
1 Jan - Could join Milan on loan
March - 2009 MLS season begins
28 Mar - England v Slovakia
1 Apr - England v Ukraine
31 May - Serie A season ends
Leonardo added: "We tried to sign Beckham two or three years ago. We had a good relationship with him then and that has been maintained.

"It is about understanding his situation at Galaxy and that he has this time free to play and train.

"We are thinking about his needs in terms of practice and playing. He needs to continue with that. It is very important to him.

"If he has the opportunity to be with a team like AC Milan, it is something very positive. He is a very good man and the move will work for everybody."

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, who needs two more appearances to eclipse Bobby Moore as England's most-capped outfield player with 108, is eager to stay in contention for his country during the MLS close season.

England coach Fabio Capello has made it clear he will only select players who are active and in form.

Beckham is due to play for LA Galaxy - who had previously insisted he would not be able to move to another club on loan during their close season - in a series of exhibition matches in Australia and New Zealand in December.

But he could then join Milan's stellar squad, which includes Brazilians Ronaldinho, Kaka and Alexandre Pato, as well as Italian internationals Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso, in January.

Beckham would be eligible to play for Milan both domestically in Serie A and in the Uefa Cup.

Vice-president Adriano Galliani has said that Beckham's arrival would be "something different and intriguing".

PHIL MCNULTY BLOG
Coach Carlo Ancelotti has also welcomed the prospect, suggesting Beckham could play a similar role to Andrea Pirlo as a creative, deep-lying midfielder.

"For me, it will be a pleasure," Ancelotti said. "Beckham is a serious athlete, a great professional. If he'll be available for us, we'll be very happy."

If the move goes ahead Beckham will become the sixth post-war British player to turn out for Milan, following in the footsteps of Englishmen Jimmy Greaves, Ray Wilkins, Luther Blissett and Mark Hateley, and former Scotland striker Joe Jordan.

If it falls through, Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has hinted he may try to persuade Beckham to return to the Premier League.

"If he doesn't go to Milan maybe I'll try to sign him myself," Redknapp said. "He would be a great loan for anybody.

"I haven't made an enquiry but it has crossed my mind. Maybe I'll try if it doesn't happen with Milan. David is still a great player, and you can't tell me he wouldn't be a great benefit to our Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe with his crossing.

"The fact is he is still a top player and wants to play. And I'm sure we wouldn't be the only ones interested if he didn't go to Milan. They would be queueing up."




see also
Beckham set to equal Moore caps
18 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Beckham hails impact of Capello
16 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Beckham achieves century landmark
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Beckham's England career in photos
25 Mar 08 |  Football
Beckham agrees to LA Galaxy move
12 Jan 07 |  Football


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