Jan 31, 2013, 11:17 AM EST
A man past his illustrious best was surely signed for publicity and jersey sales, right?
David Beckham’s arrival is all about flash and dash – not to mention the prospect of selling lots of Paris Saint-Germain kits in the lucrative Asian apparel market. PSG was presumably already selling in sufficient numbers around France, but this is a chance to expand the PSG brand into areas east, including Australia and the Middle East.
And then there’s the element of Paris chic and former be-Spiced wife Victoria; in this, Beckham’s arrival at Parc des Princes makes perfect sense. His commercial endorsement remains strong, so the beautifully lit Parisian backdrop nails the sweet spot of Brand Beckham’s off-field gold spinning.
But he does remain a competitive athlete, and the proud former England captain would wince at possibly finishing such an illustrious career stuck awkwardly on the Parc des Princes bench.
So where does a 37-year-old midfielder fit within a club chasing Ligue 1 hardware and now into the business end of Champions League play? How will he fit under manager Carlo Ancelotti and PSG sporting director Leonardo, who managed Beckham while on loan at Milan two years ago?
There is a plausible scenario where Beckham would see significant minutes in the money matches ahead for PSG.
After all, two of Beckham’s contemporaries at Manchester United, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, remain key elements in Sir Alex Ferguson’s alignment at Old Trafford, where Man United remains as mighty as ever, currently commanding the venerable English Premier League race.
With the Galaxy, Beckham had become a supporting type, a deep-lying midfield playmaker far removed from his days of dashing up and down the right looking to whip balls dangerously into the penalty area. But that’s fine; in fact, that’s what makes Beckham a reasonably good fit under Ancelotti.
The Italian boss has generally advocated narrow formations, mostly aligned into a 4-3-fill-in-the blank. That is, four defenders, three central midfielders and then some arrangement of attackers that will always find Zlatan Ibrahimovic being, well, whatever he wants to be. “Ibra” has recently dropped deeper into the midfield to become more of a creative influence. He’s got the skill, flair and soccer brain to do it.
That also helps Beckham’s playing chances as it creates a nearly unlimited number of attacking arrangements for Ancelotti.
Marco Verratti is frequently the man to sit deep in midfield, screen the defense and distribute with the simple midfield passes. If Beckham is one of the men ahead of him, most likely leaning right, making the former England captain a linking presence (but one with the ability to find the left flank quickly with one of his signature 60-yard lasers) doesn’t seem like a terrible option.
Or, Beckham could actually replace Verratti, a young and emerging Italian playmaker who could certainly manage additional, more complicated tasks further up the field. Verratti’s ability to quickly bring the flanks into play in advanced positions looks quite similar to Beckham’s last couple of Galaxy years from the same position at the Home Depot Center.
Dec 9, 2013, 7:49 AM EST
Who gets your vote? Sit back, relax and watch some stunners from Osvaldo, Assaidi, Cabaye and others:
Dec 8, 2013, 11:54 PM EST
The one commonality among both stars’ groups: Almost none of their opponents have good defensive records.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:48 PM EST
Unbeaten in three, Spurs have turned things around since their loss at Manchester City.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:44 PM EST
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The difference between missed opportunities and bad luck.
Dec 8, 2013, 8:45 PM EST
Fulham decided it early against Aston Villa, while Giroud was denied late at The Emirates.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:40 PM EST
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Collin, Feilhaber, Findley and Schuler may have changed the way we see their careers.
Pulis vs. Allardyce; Crystal Palace vs. West Ham: Earle, Mustoe talk diverging paths of Eagles, Hammers (video)
Dec 8, 2013, 6:38 PM EST
NBC Sports’ analysts consider what’s going right in the South, wrong in the East.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:43 PM EST
New depths for Moyes, Everton continues to convince, and perspective required for Chelsea’s, City’s stumbles.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:51 PM EST
Roma’s enormous win, fueled by Mattia Destro’s winner in his season debut, gave the Giallorossi a vital three to keep pace with Juventus and extend their distance from Napoli.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:23 PM EST
Wenger believes consistency will be the key, but can Arsenal learn from previous campaigns and not shot themselves in the foot?
Dec 8, 2013, 12:59 PM EST
Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal the lead with just 10 minutes to go, but Gerard Deulofeu broke Arsenal fans hearts not long after.
Dec 8, 2013, 11:47 AM EST
The North London Derby gets a third chapter this season as the two sides will face off in the FA Cup third round. See the complete draw results here:
Dec 8, 2013, 10:33 AM EST
Dimitar Berbatov looked like a changed man and Steve Sidwell scored as well to give Fulham their first win in seven weeks.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:31 AM EST
Arsene Wenger has the Gunners flying high at the top of the league, with a chance for another impressive win against Everton to put them 7 points clear.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:14 AM EST
Fulham are well on their way to ending a run of six consecutive defeats.
Dec 8, 2013, 8:36 AM EST
It’s slowly coming out that David Moyes has been keeping an eye on summer target Kevin Strootman of Roma.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:50 AM EST
Can Rene Meulensteen breathe life into Dimitar Berbatov and a weary Fulham squad, or will it be Villa’s away day magic that continues to shine bright at Craven Cottage?
Dec 7, 2013, 11:05 PM EST
We’ll know in the next few days:
Dec 7, 2013, 11:00 PM EST
Can the Gunners stretch their lead at the summit? Will Fulham stop the rot? Both games live on NBCSN:
Dec 7, 2013, 10:00 PM EST
Experience was key early, set pieces came back to haunt them, and nobody will remember how you lost.
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