Kick Off: PSG out, but who's still shopping for Beckham?
LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham met the media on Tuesday for the first time following the news that he’ll be leaving the club after the MLS Cup on Dec. 1, and he delivered at least two clear messages:
One, he’ll definitely continue playing somewhere, and he expects to make a decision around Christmas, following the Galaxy’s tour in Southeast Asia.
“I still feel I have one more challenge in me as a player, even at 37 years old,” he said. “I feel that I can still play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven't decided. I have some exciting opportunities on the table, but right now my focus is on the final.”
And two, he will be back in MLS. Not as a player – there go all those New York Red Bulls rumors – but in some type of ownership role, and perhaps even with the LA Galaxy.
“I still want to be part of this league, I still want to be an ambassador for this sport in this country and around this country, and that continues," he said. "... My commitment to the Galaxy doesn't change. My commitment to MLS doesn't change.”
So what next? It appears teams from at least four continents are lining up to at least throw some type of lucrative offer Beckham’s way. The biggest club among them initially appeared to be Paris Saint-Germain, the very club Beckham spurned earlier this year. But those rumors were promptly shot down by PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti: "We did not offer, good luck to him."
There’s some apparent interest from England as well, and it looks like West Ham could be in the mix once again after trying to land Beckham two years ago. Here’s ex-West Ham captain Alvin Martin: “He’s still got another year or two left in him because he’s not all about pace and athleticism. He should go to West Ham – if they are doing as well towards the end of the season as they are now, then why not?”
Much of the talk surrounding Beckham’s future involves a potential last hurrah in Australia, but which A-League teams are really in a spending mood? Here’s the latest rundown of Aussie teams who have declared their interest, with Melbourne Heart and Perth Glory leading the way.
The latest word from China, meanwhile, appears to be that the league’s three biggest teams – and consequently Beckham’s most eligible suitors – aren’t making offers just yet. This report indicates that even the country’s biggest club, which already features Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, hasn’t made a move.
And lastly on this topic, here’s the latest word from the Houston Dynamo – you remember them, right? – as they prepare to face Beckham at MLS Cup 2012, a.k.a. Beckham's final MLS game.
“I think we all in MLS need to take a step back and ever since he’s come here with the expansion and TV and how MLS has grown and we should all be quietly thankful,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said.
The Dynamo are expected to work out on Wednesday before taking the rest of the holiday week off in preparations for MLS Cup, which Brian Straus of the Sporting News says will look quite different than when these two teams met last year at The Home Depot Center.
And here’s a plea to MLS to not only honor Beckham during his final game but also Dynamo striker Brian Ching, who has flirted with the idea of retirement following MLS Cup.
One of the biggest storylines of the day on Tuesday was the first press conference with newly minted New York Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh who said, among other things, that it’s unlikely either Tim Cahill or Thierry Henry will go on loan this offseason.
"Right now, we don't have any requests for that,” Roxburgh said. “That's the first thing. No one has requested any players to go on loan like that. If such a request come in, then we'll need to view each one in its own right.”
But it looks like Arsenal could be interested in at least offering up another loan deal for Henry, who has already worked out with the club three times during the MLS offseason and is “looking sharp,” according to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger in this report.
Back in New York, Roxburgh also touched on the club’s ongoing coaching search, admitting that the team has already interviewed two candidates and it has not ruled out signing an American to replace deposed boss Hans Backe.
And here’s the latest on whether embattled star Rafa Márquez will be back in 2013: "We're talking to him to see how he feels, we feel."
D.C. United’s season is done and dusted, but there is plenty of work to be done in the offseason in the nation’s capital. Check out this interview from The Washington Post with club GM Dave Kasper, who shines some light on the return of Branko Boskovic and a potential offseason trip to Indonesia.
And here’s another D.C. nugget: The club is interested in signing three Indonesian players to its under-23 team.
Staying in the I-95 rivalry, what will it take for the Philadelphia Union to return to the postseason in 2013? Perhaps a new signing from South America, which looks like it could be a very real possibility for head coach John Hackworth and his club ahead of next season.
Out in San Jose, meanwhile, the transfer intrigue surrounds defender Víctor Bernárdez, one of the premier defenders in the league during his first go-round in MLS this season. He's under contract with the Quakes for 2013, but here’s the latest word about which teams from Spain appear to be interested.
How will Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie spend his offseason? He’s headed to Kathmandu, of all places, to coach a team of professional players against the Nepalese national team in an exhibition match. Yeah, you read that right.
Down in Portland, meanwhile, they’re still taking stock of a disappointing season for the Timbers. Find out what the folks at The Oregonian have to say about club owner Merritt Paulson and his job this year.
Speaking of owners, this Goal.com article takes issue with some of Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara's recent comments: “Vergara has no more right in the US to demand a more Hispanic team than any other owner would to ask for a team comprised exclusively of players of European, African, or Asian descent.”
And last but not least in the world of MLS, Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler is the latest to haul in the hardware during awards season. He joined some elite company by winning Defender of the Year on Tuesday.
The huge international news breaking Wednesday morning, meanwhile, is the fate of Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked shortly after the Blues’ stunning 3-0 loss to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday. Chelsea will take on former MLSer Michael Parkhurst and Danish side Nordsjælland in the group finale, but Parkhurst’s Champions League dreams are over after Nordsjælland lost to Shaktar Donetsk on Tuesday.
Here’s a look at the Champions League games on the docket on Wednesday.
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