Former LA Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas said he would not be surprised if David Beckham were not to return to America after his loan with AC Milan.
The England midfielder's stint with the Italian club ends in March, when the Major League Soccer season resumes but Lalas, who signed Beckham on a five-year contract with the Galaxy, told Radio Five Live: "If I was still at the Galaxy, yes, I'd fear it. He has to do what he feels is appropriate for his career."
The 33-year-old joined Milan in a bid to prove his fitness and regain his England place after being told by England manager Fabio Capello that inactivity during the MLS off-season would result in his likely omission from the next squad.
However, Lalas admitted that he may take the chance to stay with the Italian side.
"I think he wants to do well with the Galaxy but you only have one career," said Lalas. "The experience he's going to have at Milan will benefit him individually, how much it benefits the Galaxy and the people that are ultimately paying the majority of his wages remains to be seen.
"He's back in his comfort zone at AC Milan, playing with one of the biggest clubs in the world, with a tremendous amount of talent around him, with incredible money out there on the field so it must be, in a weird way for him, a relief to get out there."
Lalas, who played for Padova in Serie A, insisted LA Galaxy and the MLS would survive the post-Beckham era.
"Any manager, to a certain extent, wants David Beckham on their team but I also think David Beckham is not bigger than the Galaxy, nor is he bigger than Major League Soccer," said Lalas.
"The Galaxy will go on and do tremendous things, as will Major League Soccer, well beyond David Beckham's time. The Galaxy will survive without David Beckham, whether that is three years from now or three months from now. Either way, they will survive.
"I hope he comes back rejuvenated, but I also hope it doesn't catch up with him in the middle of the season if he does come back to MLS, that's a danger and that's something I'd be wary of."
Simon Oliveira, spokesman for Beckham, insisted the midfielder would be returning to the Galaxy in March.
Oliveira said: ''Whilst we respect Alexi's right to an opinion, he has not been party to any contractual discussions on the loan agreement to Milan.
''As David has said recently, he will be back in the US for March 9 and with LA Galaxy for the start of the MLS season.''