David Beckham's proposed move to AC Milan continued to cause excitement in Italy and bemusement in the United States today.
News of the former England captain's possible loan switch to the Rossoneri in the January transfer window emerged yesterday with Beckham's current club, the Los Angeles Galaxy, seemingly caught out by talk of their marquee player crossing the Atlantic.
After a day of rebuffing all questions with a terse "no comment", the Galaxy finally relented and admitted discussions had taken place, although coach and general manager Bruce Arena was quick to question the wisdom of letting the 33-year-old join the San Siro giants.
He told the Los Angeles Times: "On the surface, it sounds like an odd proposition.
"I don't see where that benefits MLS or the Galaxy.
"I would think [given] the position the Galaxy is in and [the fact that] we're rebuilding our team and trying to have a successful year, it would seem very odd to me if we were loaning out our top players at the start of the season.
"It would seem pretty odd to me to operate that way."
Major League Soccer (MLS) finishes this Sunday for those sides not through to the end-of-season play-offs - which include the Galaxy - but Beckham is keen to maintain his fitness in one of Europe's strongest leagues in a bid to keep his England career from stalling.
MLS confirmed yesterday discussions over a possible switch to Milan had taken place, but insisted the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star would return to the US for the start of the 2009 MLS season in March.
"Discussions have taken place between AC Milan and the Los Angeles Galaxy regarding the possibility of a short-term loan agreement that would allow David Beckham to play for AC Milan during the MLS off-season," MLS commissioner Don Garber said.
"Those discussions are ongoing. David remains an LA Galaxy player and will be here for the start of the 2009 MLS season."
Beckham's impact Stateside - certainly on the pitch - has been the subject of much debate, with cynics questioning his commitment to the Galaxy.
But, despite his advancing years - Beckham is now 33, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is convinced he can make a significant impact in Serie A.
Ancelotti said: "If Beckham arrives, he could play in any role in our midfield.
"His adaptation would not be problematic.
"Certainly, when I stop coaching, I will proudly remember that I coached so many champions like Kaka, (Andriy) Shevchenko, Ronaldinho and eventually Beckham, among others at Milan."
It has also emerged today that former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi advised Milan to pursue Beckham.
Milan sought the opinion of Sacchi, who worked with Beckham in Madrid, on how best to reinforce their midfield in January and received a glowing endorsement of the player.
"I advised (AC Milan vice-president Adriano) Galliani to take Beckham because he will do a good job for the team as opposed to some players, that in certain cases, are a risk," said Sacchi.
"Beckham is a great professional and an exceptional lad.
"He will not be a burden and if he is still the player that I knew several years ago, he will give something extra to the team.
"In the past, great players like Rivaldo or Ronaldo struggled to adapt but I believe with Beckham there is a reciprocal advantage for him and for the team.
"When I coached, I tried to bring to the team young people but there are exceptions and Beckham is one of them."Reuse content