French dressing and petro-dollars for David Beckham
One thing is for sure in the gravity-defying world of football’s super rich and that is money follows money. It will without doubt only be a matter of hours before the Paris St Germain (PSG) club shop is shifting Brand Beckham replica shirts in the hundreds if not thousands – for why else would the world’s most famous has-been footballer be recruited by a team that surely has little need for his tired, if still capable, legs.
David Beckham is not at all in shape, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said this week when the former United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy player worked out with the Premier League club at their London Colney training complex.
But PSG are the new petro-dollar fuelled kids on Uefa’s block, owned by the Qataris and with the spending power to match. They’ve spent more than any other club in recent times, indeed landing the biggest scalp of the current transfer window, shelling out a not inconsiderable 45m euros for Lucas Moura from Sao Paulo.
In adding Beckham to their Champions’ League-chasing uber squad PSG are attempting to build a formidable squad that could do for the Parisian would-be giants what Abramovich did for Chelsea and Abu Dhabi did for Manchester City. And their business model is as much about winning as it is about filling the bigger stadium they hope to build at Parc des Princes. Which requires household names to draw in as many punters as they can possibly persuade.
The club is now stocked with football scions – scorer of perhaps-the-best-goal-ever Zlatan Ibrahimovich leading the charge on the pitch, while Laurent Platini – son of Uefa boss Michel, is heading up their business interests off the pitch.
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Given Uefa’s efforts to restrict the untrammelled spending of clubs bankrolled by overseas owners, the dinner time chat in the Platini household must make for an interesting time to be a fly on the wall.
Note to self – don’t mention “financial fair play” at the Platini family reunion.
Meanwhile in Beckham towers it is clearly time to bring the roost back closer to his roots. He left Manchester way back in 2003 and has since made home in the cream of desirable global postcodes. Lodging in the Spanish capital till 2007, then the last half decade in the city of Angels.
He’d reportedly had offers to see out his career from across the globe – but by all accounts wanted to play a little closer to home than SoCal, which obviously ruled out the well-publicised invite from Australia, despite the attraction of another few years of endless summer.
So, now Brand Becks to Gay Paree. Barely a trademark free kick’s distance from London. Joining a team with ambitions far beyond what the 37-year-old will realistically be able to contribute – at least in what one might call sporting terms.
But then again, it’s been a long time since the beautiful game was merely about scoring more goals than you let in.
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