David Beckham came to the L.A. Galaxy and North American soccer in a hurricane of publicity. His presence sold tickets — even for games where he was not going to play because of injury — and now you can actually watch some MLS games on television in Europe (not to mention on ESPN here).
But on the pitch, Beckham was a mixed bag — he was injured for much of the season and the Galaxy missed the playoffs. There were a lot of questions of what might have been, and how far he could really lift this team.
He’s healthy now, having scored his first Serie A goal for AC Milan last weekend, and they not only want to keep him, they are willing to pay good money to do so.
AC Milan are willing to pay a £4.5m ($6.4 million) transfer fee for David Beckham to remain at the San Siro but, according to chief executive Adriano Galliani, LA Galaxy are yet to agree to a deal.
Beckham's five-year deal with the MLS club has a break clause inserted that means he can leave California for free in October. Milan aim to offer cash to tempt Galaxy to allow the 33-year-old to stay in Italy. Reports in England suggest that Milan, having held discussions with his American club believe that £4.5m will be enough to get that clause activated.
His wife may love L.A. (although the shopping in Milan doesn’t suck), but all the best players want to play on the biggest stage. In soccer, that is Europe. Heck, Beckham’s presence in Los Angeles even inspired Landon Donovan — the king of wanting to be the big fish in the small pond — to give Europe one more try.
The Galaxy are going to lose him this fall, and for nothing. More importantly, the MLS, at its core, has really always been about developing the best young American talent, giving them a chance, not just bringing in the aging stars of the rest of the world.
Take the money, wish him well and let him wow the world with his free kicks in Italy. It is time for everyone to move on.