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Milan still hopeful of permanent Beckham deal

AC Milan still hopes to sign David Beckham from Los Angeles Galaxy permanently and view the Major League Soccer's deadline for a deal as a "tactic", Chief Executive Adriano Galliani said yesterday.

The England midfielder, on loan to Milan until March 9, has said he wants to stay at the Serie A club fulltime but the MLS imposed a Friday deadline which passed without agreement. Galaxy said they now expect him to return next month.

"In the meantime Beckham is here at Milan, we'll see what happens in a month or so," Galliani told Sky Television.

"It's a tactic," he added when asked about the deadline.

Italian media speculated that a deal could still be reached by the parties irrespective of the arbitrary deadline set down by the MLS during the week.

Beckham's spokesman said the player and his advisors will consider their position after today's derby against Serie A leader Inter Milan.

"David is focused on the Milan derby this Sunday. We will be addressing this early next week," Simon Oliveira said.

Beckham has the option of buying out his contract and has a clause which means he can leave Galaxy for nothing in October.

Earlier on Friday, Galaxy General Manager Bruce Arena said in a statement: "Today's deadline imposed by Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber regarding a resolution of David Beckham's potential transfer to AC Milan has passed and we did not receive an acceptable offer for the player.

"As a result, David remains an LA Galaxy player and we look forward to having him back with the club starting March 9."

Last week the Galaxy rejected Milan's first bid for Beckham, saying the former England captain would return to Los Angeles as scheduled unless the Italians came up with a substantially higher offer.

"If David ultimately is an asset for this team, we want him back," Tim Leiweke, chief executive of AEG, the entertainment conglomerate that owns the Galaxy, told the Los Angeles Times.

"If David ultimately has a hunger and a desire to come help us make the impact on the pitch we wanted to make with him but haven't done yet, then he's an important member of this team and our intention is to bring him back."

Beckham, 33, moved to the United States midway through 2007 on a five-year deal as part of an orchestrated bid to lift American soccer to a new level.


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