David Beckham will have to content himself with facing the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Minnesota Thunder, Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix this winter as he attempts to regain fitness and form, thus preserving his England prospects.
Major League Soccer (MLS) yesterday firmly ruled out any possibility that Beckham could go on loan to a Barclays Premier League club - or anywhere else - in January. There had been speculation that as soon as the transfer window opens, the 32-year-old would seek a temporary move so that he could play top-level football.
That would enhance his hopes of reaching a century of England caps (he has 97) by keeping him in the spotlight at a time when thoughts will be turning to the finals of Euro 2008, should Steve McClaren's side qualify.
"It's never been discussed and it's simply not going to happen," Ivan Gazidis, the deputy commissioner of MLS, told The Times.
"It's not a practical possibility given the way the transfer windows work in conjunction with the Fifa rules. It would require us loaning him out from January until July at a minimum. That's not going to happen. He's going to be playing in the MLS season next year [beginning in late March]."