Tim Leiweke, chief executive of AEG which owns the LA Galaxy, has told The Los Angeles Times that AC Milan will have to considerably up their offer for David Beckham. Leiweke, the man responsible for bringing David Beckham to MLS was very clear.
"We need to end the distractions, the circus and the zoo, we just received an offer," Leiweke said. "It was rejected."
Reports out of England are suggesting that a $20 million offer is what it will take and the Galaxy are prepared to hold firm.
"If David ultimately is an asset for this team, we want him back," Leiweke said. "If David ultimately has a hunger and a desire to come help us make the impact on the pitch that we wanted to make with him but haven't done yet, then he's an important member of this team and our intention is to bring him back. Clearly, if David's in a position where he wants to finish the season in Milan, and Milan in turn compensates the Galaxy so that we can suffer no damages to our fans or to our team, then we'll take a look at it. But we have made it very clear to them that we expect David back here March 9. They agree and understand we own the contract. They understand the only way we do this is if, when this is all said and done, the Galaxy benefits. If the Galaxy comes out better without David than with David, then we'll take a look at it."
With many clubs taking commercial decisions based around their LA Galaxy home fixtures, including the leasing of larger venues, with critical financial game pack options tied in, it is not only Los Angeles fans and executives looking closely at the outcome.
Major League Soccer changed its leagues rules and player salary structure to accommodate the David Beckham deal estimated to be worth $250 million across five years with endorsements.
Leiweke continued: "David and us actually are talking. He has never forced our hand on anything. This is not a legal conversation and has never been a legal conversation. He does not have lawyers looking at the contract. David has made it very clear that if our decision is to bring him back here, he will return. Period."
However, Leiweke is also aware of Beckham's International aspirations.
"This is an important time in his life," Leiweke said. "He's about to establish some iconic marks with the national team and I'm not interested in taking away from that or distracting David. Last time I checked, we're the ones that have the contract. So the decision as to where David's going to play this year is as much ours as anyone's."
So any chance of David Beckham being forced to return to Los Angeles?
"If David comes back, it will be because there were decisions made by all involved and he'll accept that," Leiweke said. "I don't think he'll be as disgruntled as the media makes it out to be."
May the circus continue.
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