Will Tidey - Tottenham have everything to gain from Beckham
Published: 06 Jan 2011 - 06:21:00
Did we really think he'd let his playing career fizzle out at the Home Depot Center, putting in a shift alongside a load of players you've never heard of and a few you haven't heard of for ages?
This is David Beckham we're talking about. The man who went to LA Galaxy to save US soccer, but has now spent the last three off-seasons begging for respite on this side of the Atlantic. The MLS must feel like a cheap holiday romance. Good fun, but nothing serious.
Can you imagine if it happened the other way around? Steven Gerrard angling for a summer loan to the Toronto Rapids and asking Liverpool for permission? Even the most trenchant Stevie Gee fans would have a problem with that.
Beckham has been criticised in the US, but the informed can at least appreciate his reasoning. His two AC Milan sabbaticals were justified by the hope of playing at the 2010 World Cup for England, and this one - presuming it happens - is loosely based on the notion of him returning for Euro 2012.
But this one's a much harder sell. Beckham is 35 and already well behind James Milner, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson (perhaps even Shaun Wright-Phillips) in the England pecking order. He'll be 37 by the time attentions turn to Poland and Ukraine. Will Fabio Capello really need him as a player? It's extremely unlikely.
So why do Tottenham want him? Of course the commercial value of Beckham justifies the move by itself, but as a player can he seriously expect to make an impact at White Hart Lane? Is the circus that comes with him really worth finding out?
I think he's worth the risk. Spurs have Lennon, but the England winger won't play every game and Harry Redknapp needs a plan B. That should have been David Bentley, but the Tottenham manager has more or less given up the ghost there. Beckham remains a exquisite passer and a world-class set-piece specialist. He's also desperate to make one last point on the stage where he made his name. To the fans he holds dearest.
Spurs' involvement in the Champions League is particularly relevant - both for Beckham's motivations and Redknapp's interest. Beckham needs the stage, Redknapp needs the experience and an extra weapon in his armory. Everyone's a winner.
People talk about 'Brand Beckham' as a ruthless global business operation, but the brand of football Beckham plays has been never short of heart. He'll chase, harry and tackle everything his weary legs will allow him too. And therein is an example Redknapp would love to present to his squad, especially the younger members. Even if most of Beckham's lessons are given on the training ground he could have a lasting impact.
And so we wait and see. If it happens English football will be back doing what we do best - talking about Beckham. And we all know it won't be the last time.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
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