LOS ANGELES – Tim Leiweke didn't hold back when he spoke to a gathering of fans at the LA Galaxy's "kickoff" event Tuesday evening, promising something special in replacing David Beckham and adding those who underestimate the LA Galaxy can “kiss my you know what."
Leiweke, president and CEO of club owner AEG, made only a few remarks Tuesday night at the Grammy Museum, and there were no bombshells à la his “MLS Cup in LA” reveal two years earlier, but he addressed in passing the Galaxy's interest in another top player.
He praised the offseason contract extension with Robbie Keane, acquisition of goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini from Tottenham Hotspur and full transfer of rising-star midfielder Juninho after three years of loans, and added: “I promise you, trust me, the best one's coming.”
Then he drew laughter with a quick “don't tell Robbie I said the best one's coming ... the second-best one to Robbie.”
The Galaxy have courted Real Madrid's Brazilian midfielder Kaká and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard to replace Beckham among LA's Designated Players. The Galaxy dropped their bid for Kaká in January, Spanish sports newspaper Marca reported, after Real Madrid demanded more than $30 million; Lampard reportedly is sifting through his options. The summer transfer window opens July 9.
“This ownership,” Leiweke said, “as long as these guys are staying committed to wanting to have that target on their back, wanting to create a legacy, and wanting to step up to the pressure every year being the LA Galaxy, I always tell Bruce [Arena]: 'We've got your back. We'll get you the resources you need to win.'”
Arena, who has said there was no insistence to sign a new DP, addressed the matter while talking about Beckham.
“I'll say this up front: We're never going to have David Beckham here again,” the Galaxy head coach said. “He was a special player, a special person for our team and the league, and he gave us a lot of mention around the world. And that's life – what are you going to do, you know? We're so proud we had him here, and we accomplished a whole lot.
"We've been fortunate to not only bring in players the likes of David Beckham and Robbie Keane and now Carlo Cudicini from the Premier League, and others to follow, as Tim alluded to.”
Leiweke – trying to rush off to the still-scoreless Los Angeles Kings-Detroit Red Wings NHL game across the street at Staples Center – noted that none of the preseason prognostications he's seen had the Galaxy winning a third straight MLS Cup title or third Supporters' Shield in four years, saying he “loved” seeing such predictions.
“No one picks us to win the Supporters' Shield. Most pick us to finish third or fourth in the West,” he said. “And it astounds me that people don't understand the character and commitment of our organization. We love being in that position. We love everybody underestimating us. And last time I checked, the most successful coach in the history of this league, in this sport in this country, is Bruce Arena, and this team is back-to-back champions.
“So they can kiss my you know what – if Detroit was up, 1-0, it would have been the 'A' word! And trust me when I tell you ... we're committed to doing it again. We want everyone to look past us, and we're going to continue to give this organization and you every resource necessary to create that legacy and create a team that one day they write books about.”