Deal would send Beckham back to LA after Milan finale

March 3, 2009

MILAN -- A deal allowing David Beckham to extend his stay with AC Milan through the end of the Italian season is close but not yet complete, Milan chairman Adriano Galliani said Tuesday.

The former England captain joined Milan on a two-month loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy in January and was due to return to the Major League Soccer club next week. But Beckham wants to stay, and Galliani said the two sides are nearing a deal that would keep him at Milan until the summer.

"The deal is not done. We're working on the possibility of a loan until June 30, but no deal has been reached yet," Galliani said before boarding a plane for a friendly in Doha, Qatar, according to Milan's Web site.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena confirmed Tuesday that no deal has been finalized.

"There are three options at this point. We have the ability to call back the loan on March 9, or he can be transferred March 9 or he can be loaned and possibly returned," he said in Carson, Calif.

Beckham has a five-year contract with the Galaxy worth $32.5 million. He can opt out of his MLS contract at the end of the season.

"Nothing has been stated publicly that he's leaving," Arena said. "No one has said that he's leaving."

Arena dismissed talk that AC Milan was trying to intimidate the Galaxy publicly.

"There's been no bullying; there's been discussions and negotiations," he said. "The better you are at negotiating, you take a stronger stance at times. The bottom line with us is that we need to do what's right for our organization."

Beckham has repeatedly said he wants to remain in Italy.

"I'm happy to be here with Milan and I reiterate that I would like to stay," he said in Doha, according to Milan's Web site. "I've really been enjoying myself, I have extraordinary teammates, I'm playing for one of the strongest teams in the world and I'm coached by one of the best managers in the world."

Financial terms of the proposal are unknown, but the Galaxy earlier had asked for $10 million from Milan for the outright purchase of Beckham. Milan had said it would pay no more than $3 million.

"The deal is getting more and more concrete," Galliani told the club's TV station late Monday. "I hope we can arrange it so he stays on loan at least until June 30. Then he could return to Los Angeles and rejoin us in January.

"This is the direction we're aiming for," Galliani said. "It's complicated, as we've always known, but I'm still trying."

Beckham wants to remain with Milan to improve his chances of making England's team for next year's World Cup. He has played in 11 games with the Rossoneri, nine of them in Serie A in which he always started. He has two goals.

"He's transformed himself into a very important player, although he's a bit worn down right now," Galliani added.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press