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Stories to explore as this David Beckham news unfolds

Nov 20, 2012, 9:32 AM EST

2011 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

Those “Stop the Presses!” headlines from Monday night are only a starting point. David Beckham splitting amicably with the Galaxy after six strong seasons (mostly strong on the field, always a fearsome force in wow-wow factor) is hardly the checkered flag at the finish line.

There are tons of tentacles branching out on this one, so let’s look at where the story will travel from here:

  • Beckham’s next stop is foremost in the unfolding tale. Early pundit leanings seemed to focus on the significance of Beckham saying he is leaving the Galaxy, rather than leaving MLS. So came the early momentum behind a “Beckham to the Red Bulls” rumor. Pure guesswork at this point, but there it is.
  • If not here, where? Assuming Beckham does feel like a man with few more kicks left in his shiny boots … Japan? Australia? Russia? Those would all qualify as “new frontiers” for Brand Beckham and his strategic deciders at Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment.

(MORE: Will the man’s next playing spell be “short term?”)

  • What’s up with this seemingly less-than-ideal timing? Beckham and 19 Entertainment just made the 17th MLS Cup all about him, intentionally or not. As PST colleague Richard Farley noted yesterday on Twitter, MLS Cup 2011 was all about Beckham, would he stay or would he go (following that initial five-year monster deal)? He signed a new two-year agreement shortly thereafter, so we seemed to dwell happily in a Beckham Drama-free zone for ’12. Guess not. Alas, another year of much media eulogizing of Becks’ days in MLS. (Hey! No cutting and pasting, boys and girls.)
  • So there’s lots of ground to cover on the timing. For instance, would anyone at league level have preferred Beckham make this announcement on Dec. 2, on the morning after MLS Cup? And would the Galaxy’s competitive pursuits be better off without the distraction of more Beckham brouhaha?

(MORE: Beckham closing his days in L.A.) 

  • Or is it possible that MLS Cup, for the first time on a Saturday night, needed this extra shot of media whiskey to jazz up a final that’s exactly the same as last year’s? (Same teams, same venue.)
  • The other big thread in this huge ball of Beckham yarn: What’s next for the Galaxy? The Frank Lampard talk has languished in media speculation land for some time, aided by the Chelsea man’s appearance last summer in sunny So Cal. Or is Didier Drogba willing to trade his Chinese currency for a few American dollars? Either way, given the AEG ownership group’s penchant for the splashy-dashy, you know a big name is out there.
  • Can the next man into the “Beckham hole” be a needle mover the way he was? Short answer is “no way.” Beckham was peerless in his collective marketing muscle. But that won’t stop us all from exploring the question.
  • Now there’s a chance that L.A. Galaxy 2013 will look remarkably different. Not only will Bruce Arena’s side be one former England captain short, it could well be without Landon Donovan, too. Let’s discuss, shall we?
  • You just know Houston manager Dominic Kinnear is loving all this intense focus on the Galaxy – the better for his team, champions of easy-going humility anyway, to prep for a Dec. 1 ambush.
  • And what of Beckham’s MLS ownership ambition? Beckham seems keen (to use a word from his native vernacular) on exercising that unique option of buying into an MLS team at below-market rate. Grant Wahl from SI.com has reported that discount figure at $25 million, which would be a dandy bargain considering that Montreal just bought in at $40 million. The exception clause is New York’s second franchise, apparently, which MLS commissioner Don Garber has valued at closer to $100 million. Sorry, ‘bout that, Becks.

(MORE: Beckham talk dominates our PST Daily Re-set)

  1. dfstell - Nov 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    I’m a Galaxy fan and I don’t really mind the spotlight being on him during the lead-up and the game itself. I mean….it sounds like he has a player option for next year. It would have been kinda weird for him to say, the day after, “Surprise. You thought I had a two year contract, but the second year was really a player option and I’m opting out. Bye!” I’m a little surprised that “we” didn’t all know it was a player option for Year 2. If we’d known that, the commentary all these two weeks would be whether he was opting out.

    Maybe someone discovered that he had this option year and was going to break that story? Maybe the Galaxy and Beckham got ahead of that story? This IS better than the opt-out drama that surrounds teams like the Yankees (remember A-Rod’s opting out).

    As for the Galaxy, they’ll be fine. They have money to spend, a good coach, as glamorous of a brand as exists in American soccer and a climate that is attractive to players. I know people say there are no guarantees with DPs, but there’s a big difference between the Galaxy style DPs who are earning $3-4MM and most of the other DPs in the league who make $800K or so. You’re not getting Robbie Keane for $800K….

  2. geojock - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    What if MLS and Becks meet in the middle for the NY #2? Becks gets NY#2 for $80 million instead of $100 million.

    • Steve Davis - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      Hmmmm. I suppose he could use that contractual figure as “credit,” based on how the other owners feel about it. But good knowledge of that stuff is well above my financial pay grade, admittedly.

  3. wfjackson3 - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Am I the only one that thinks this has lots to do with Donovan feeling burned out? I don’t think Beckham is eager to be without his up and down tag team partner.

    • Steve Davis - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Hmmmm. Nah, I just don’t see it. Donovan being burned out has to do with Donovan going to Everton last year (again!) when he needed the rest. He has said as much since. Besides, Donovan has always been a bit of a different sort, not entirely married to the game that nothing-else-matters way that someone like Clint Dempsey is.

  4. footballer4ever - Nov 20, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Beckham, amid all the distraction and somewhat negative decisions, has been a pillar of this league and just his mere presence was immense; Nevertheless, no player is above a league. The MLS cup buzz should be about LAG vs Dynamo and it’s a shame Beckham hijacked with his premature announcement and it’s highly questionable the timing he’s doing it. $hame on you, Beckham!!!

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