With David Beckham at the end of his contract in America, a former England footballer tells Channel 4 News he could still play at the highest levels in England.
The 36-year-old former England captain has been offered a new contract by LA Galaxy, he is being chased by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and has been linked to moves to Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers (QPR).
John Scales, a former England defender who played for Wimbledon, Liverpool and Tottenham, said Beckham could cope with the physical rigours of the Premier League.
“I think Beckham could play for another two years in the Premier League. He has quality, character and professionalism.” Mr Scales, who played with Beckham in the England squad in the 1990s, said: “He was very easy to get on with.There was a nice humility about him.”
I think Beckham could play for another two years in the Premier League. John Scales
He said he did not believe a move to Ligue 1 leaders PSG was likely, even though “the money would be appealing and there’s the glamour of living in Paris”.
He added: “My gut instinct is that at this stage with his family, it’s not an ideal scenario. I really do think the options are to stay with Galaxy or move to the Premier League. But if he does that, it means turning his back on the States and he loves the life in LA.”
Mr Scales said as an “exceptional case”, QPR owner Tony Fernandes might be prepared to meet Beckham’s wage demands. “Tony Fernandes at QPR could possibly be willing to bring in someone like that as a one-off, a unique situation. He wouldn’t disrupt the dressing room, he gets his head down and isn’t a prima donna.”
But with Tottenham more likely to offer him Champions League football, north London was a more plausible destination than west London – particularly with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp pursuing him. “Harry wants to get him there. I’d have thought he likes the way Harry works and Spurs are favourites.”
A move back to his former club Manchester United, where he spent 10 years, has not been mooted. If he returned, he would be able to link up with former teammate Ryan Giggs, who, at 37, is a year older. But Mr Scales said he believed this was “unlikely”.
On Sunday, LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup final, and with Beckham’s contract expiring next month, it could have been his last game for them. It is the only silverware the former England captain has won in America after five years.
He is keen to play for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics in London, so a move back to the capital might tempt him. He has also said the next England manager should be English, prompting speculation he would like the job himself.
But Beckham is more than a footballer, he is a brand – and in the US, brands are king.