So it seems that David Beckham, in an attempt to keep himself fit and playing and thus in contention for England’s next friendlies in the new year, is off to Milan.It was a deal that seemed to come from nowhere, but it seems that all parties are delighted with the agreement, except of course Harry Redknapp who just had to stick his nose in at the last minute.
I must say that upon first hearing the news, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m a big fan of Beckham, not just as a player, but as a great professional who has always given his all for England, even if some question his performances at crucial moments, the important thing is, the desire and commitment has always been there. And I think that Beckham could be a really top draw player in the Serie A.
Though he is now 33 and his legs certainly are not what they once were, the man still has one of the best feet in the game, and is as dangerous as ever from set-pieces and from wide positions. While he will not be able to offer Milan the sorts of bursts of pacey determination that drove him down the touchline for Man Utd for so many seasons, there is no denying his vision and technical ability are still top class.
And Italian football is a very different animal to the Premier League too. It is played usually at a much slower place, with players comfortable on the ball and often given time in possession. This then, should suit Beckham down to the ground, giving him the opportunity to orchestrate play and spray the ball around in his trademark fashion. It could prove to be a very potent acquisition for the Italian club.
However, I do have some reservations about the move, and how successful it will be in giving Beckham the chance to prove to Capello he can still cut it at the top level, and thus allow him to gain the two caps he needs to become England’s most capped player. Don’t get me wrong, I do not doubt Beckham’s ability, as I’ve said, I think he could be a big success at Milan. The thing bothering me, is the quality of the other players in their squad.
Milan’s midfield ranks are arguably the most formidable in club football at this moment in time, with the current jewel of Brazilian football combining with it’s waning star, in Kaka and Ronaldinho (who I’ve always seen more as an in-the-hole midfielder rather than a forward). Then you have the two top class stalwarts of Italian football who played a huge part in taking the World Cup home in ’06 in the beauty and brawn partnership of Pirlo and Gattuso, and also the likes of Mathieu Flamini who proved is class at Arsenal last season and the vice captain of the side, Ambrosini.
So while Beckham is undoubtedly a class act, he may have a bit of trouble in forcing his way into the team. Of the competition, I think Pirlo is the most similar player, and indeed, the tussle between he, Beckham and Ronaldinho over who takes free-kicks is a decision any manager would love to have to make. The question for Beckham is whether Carlo Ancelotti decides he brings enough to the table to feature regularly.
In my opinion Beckham could provide a great deal of ammunition for Boriello and Schevchenko up front, as both players will thrive of his delivery, and with young Alexandre Pato amongst the ranks also, Beckham could unleash the brazillian starlets pace from deep with his vision and passing. But Pirlo’s range of passing is equal to Beckham’s, and let’s face it, the rest of the midfield has plenty of creativity. If Beckham fails to take his chance early, and doesn’t immediately settle into life at the San Siro and the Italian breed of football, I fear he could find himself out of contention for England after all.
So it seems to be a bit of a risk on Beckham’s behalf. The other parties cannot lose out, as Milan have a great player, Galaxy get their star man to remain in top shape over the off season and Capello could see Beckham shine and even come close to his form of years gone by if he finds success in Italy. I hope for Beckham’s sake that the risk pays off, as it is an admirable move for him to make.
I am fairly sure that he could have gone to almost any club in the world for this period, as few managers would turn him down. It is testament to Beckham’s belief and determination then, that he chose one of the top sides in Europe, rather than somewhere where he would have been guaranteed first team football and could have had a comfortable few months and probably done enough to make the England squad, somewhere like Portsmouth. Instead, we will have to wait and see whether the gamble pays off. If he wins, Beckham could win big, if he loses, he might lose out on his final England dream once and for all.
I for one, hope to see Beckham lining up sporting the three lions against Spain in February. Beckham has given his all to the England team for so long that no one could begrudge him his place in history if he achieves it. Milan madness then? We will have to watch and find out.