David Beckham could be heading to Australia after his management approached Football Federation Australia (FFA) about the English star playing in the country’s domestic league.
The 37-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder remains one of the game’s biggest names and his presence along with Italian superstar Alessandro del Piero would help ratchet up the competition’s global image.
FFA said yesterday Beckham’s management had offered his services for the current season. Reports said he wanted to play a 10-game guest stint once the US Major League Soccer season ends in two weeks.
“The approach from David Beckham’s people is another sign of how much the Hyundai A-League has grown in stature on a global basis,” an FFA spokesman said. “Beckham is a superstar on the world stage and he would be another massive signing for the A-League after the arrivals of Alessandro del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono, but this approach remains at a very preliminary stage.”
The FFA said it was exploring all options available.
Sydney or Melbourne are considered the two most likely destinations, although for the move to happen FFA must support the deal financially.
The former Manchester United man is likely to demand a multimillion dollar fee, which would be out of reach of most Australian clubs.
The Sydney Morning Herald speculated that the newly-formed Western Sydney Wanderers would be the most realistic option, with FFA owning the team.
That would mean Beckham’s pay could come directly from the pockets of FFA chief Frank Lowy, the co-founder and chairman of shopping center giant Westfield, who has a fortune estimated at about US$5 billion.
Lowy previously offered to put the money up if the Wanderers wanted to sign Germany international Michael Ballack, but the deal fell through when coach Tony Popovic said he was not interested, the Herald said.
The team signed Japanese international Ono instead.
An indication of the sort of money Beckham could demand is reflected in Del Piero being on a two-year contract reportedly for US$2 million a season at Sydney FC.