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The Beckham Experiment Needs to End

All of us have had friends who are in a complicated relationship.  It may even have been us: the guy recently began dating a much more attractive woman who, while not a young bombshell, is still a gorgeous woman.  This woman recently ended an intense relationship but does not treat your friend like a rebound – she says all the right things when all your buddies meet up for drinks and she obviously cares for him.  They had a rough beginning – your friend had jealousy issues, she had to get used to your friend’s idiosyncrasies – but they seem to be going well together.  But you notice she likes to eye the bar a little too much, and seems to often stare off at other men, with that look in her eyes asking “what if”.  She knows your friend is the best fit for her, but can’t help wondering if she can relive the glory days with other, more glamorous guys like the one she used to date.

What would you tell your friend?  Wouldn’t you warn him about where this relationship is headed, if not tell him he should begin thinking about breaking it off before it gets too messy?

The Galaxy and David Beckham have reached that point.  After a few years of settling in and finding their grooves in their relationship, Beckham is again the center of transfer rumors to England.  This time it is a loan deal to Tottenham for a few months, to help Harry Redknapp’s team make a run at the title.  The Galaxy have patiently dealt with Beckham’s desire to play top-flight football, quietly conceding most of the 2010 season after he picked up an Achilles injury playing for AC Milan and uttering nary a protest when he speaks of his desire to play for the English national team again.  And it’s not like they have not benefited, having made tons of money off the Beckham name.  But it has to stop.

How many games has David Beckham, he of the $250 million contract, played for the LA Galaxy since the beginning of 2009?  16.  Just 16 (hat tip Steve Davis). It’s time for this experiment to end and for the Galaxy to make a permanent transfer of Beckham to an English team.

The LA Galaxy are poised to make a run at an elusive third MLS Cup.  If the club can sign Juan Pablo Angel and hold on to internationally coveted players like Edson Buddle and Omar Gonzalez, Bruce Arena has constructed the ultimate win-now team.  It has experience, fire power, and enough defense to win the MLS Cup.  Beckham is an important part of this, expected to play a solid midfield and do what he does best – scare the heck out of teams during corner kicks and free kicks.  But if Beckham leaves or, God forbid, gets hurt, where does that leave LA?  Experienced yes but missing a starter in the midfield.  It’s better for them to plan now and use his DP spot to get another midfielder.

We’ve seen this story before – David Beckham wanted to go on a short loan to AC Milan that basically turned into a two-year commitment and an injury.  Now, knowing that he has to keep in front of the English coaching staff’s vision to fulfill his dream of playing for England (again), there are these reports of a short-term loan to Tottenham.  What if he finds success coming off the bench?  What if Spurs are still in a title hunt in March?  They will certainly be in the hunt for a Champions League spot.  Will this time Team Beckham reject a longer loan and come back to LA?

I remember watching the LA Galaxy dominate the Seattle Sounders (sorry Seattle fans) in the second leg of this year’s playoffs.  Beckham was starting and played maybe his best game of the past two years.  He was flying all over the pitch, helping thwart the Sounder’s attack and serving as a conduit to the Galaxy attack.  This was the Beckham MLS and LA fans have wanted to see since “the Beckham rule” went into effect, and it has been a rare treat these past few years.  A loan spell could guarantee they may not see that again this year, and because of that it is time to finally cut the cord.  MLS and the Galaxy deserve better.