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England midfielder David Beckham has won his battle to stay at Milan, according to reports. Under a unique ‘timeshare’ agreement, Beckham will stay at Milan until the end of the season, return to the Los Angeles Galaxy from July to October and then rejoin the Serie A club for the rest of the campaign.
According to sources, Beckham has been so determined to stay at Milan that he has agreed to fund the majority of the loan fee being paid to Galaxy himself.
The deal means Beckham has the opportunity to cement his position in Fabio Capello’s England squad for the World Cup qualifiers and the finals in South Africa next year.
While Milan vice president Adriano Galliani refused to confirm the deal, he said he was feeling ‘optimistic’. “There’s no news but I’m a little more optimistic because we’re making progress and with with a little correction here and there to the documents things are going forwards between us and Galaxy,” he said.
“It has to. It’s not official yet but we’re on the right path. There are no storms brewing.” Galliani more or less confirmed a deal would be done although he said he couldn’t be sure when exactly.
“The decisive day could be today (Friday), tomorrow or Monday but the most important thing is that David is here and is playing in the Milan jersey,” he said.
It follows weeks of negotiations between the two clubs, during which Milan baulked at the size of the transfer fee Galaxy were demanding – thought to be around £12 million.
Beckham was an instant success at Milan after moving on loan after Christmas, and his desire to stay there led the 33-year-old to effectively fund the unique loan deal himself.
The only issue that has yet to be settled is Beckham’s position at the end of next season – under the arrangement he will only be on loan at Milan until then.
Beckham will not have the sort of long break most players in Europe enjoy in the summer but he will have several shorter breaks instead.
He will have some time off before rejoining Galaxy once the international transfer window opens on July 15, and then another break before returning to Milan in November.
He will also benefit from the winter break in Serie A and believes that will make him at least as fresh as any Premier League player when the World Cup comes around.
Asked if Beckham would remain at Milan for the remainder of the campaign, club sporting director Ariedo Braida said: “I believe he will, but it’s not official yet.”
Beckham moved to the Galaxy in 2007, signing a five-year deal. He does have an escape clause in that contract -which comes into effect in November, halfway through the term – but he would have to pay hefty compensation to exercise it.
The ‘timeshare’ agreement means he will miss at least 17 games of this year’s Major League Soccer season, which has a total of 30 matches per club. His return to the USA now looks set to be on July 18 at the New York Red Bulls.
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