French fans continue to prepare for David Beckham's arrival, politicians debate the appropriateness of his would-be salary and Paris Saint-Germain's Qatari owners express confidence the English star's name will be on a contract shortly.
Leonardo, the Parisian giant's sporting director -- “general manager,” in American sports terminology -- admits he's not so sure.
Two French newspapers reported last week that Beckham had agreed to an 18-month, $18.7 million deal with PSG, and Agence France Presse reported that he is expected to sign next week in a trip to Qatar, but the Galaxy midfielder's representatives have balked at such claims.
They did so again Friday.
“There is no agreement with PSG at this time,” 19 Entertainment said in a statement. “An offer does not make a contract, we continue to hold negotiations with a number of clubs. No decision has been made, and we do not expect one at the moment.”
Leonardo said he's not sure Beckham, who also is considering a sixth season with the Galaxy, is coming at all.
“He is in L.A., he has his family over there,” the Brazilian told media Friday as he introduced Carlo Ancelotti as PSG's new coach. “We have talked a lot and we are still talking, but I’m not sure it will be done.
“We have a very good rapport with David Beckham, but we never said it was a done deal. We have studied it and we are studying it. It’s always been a question of personal matters.”
The Galaxy's best hope to keep Beckham has always been about family. The Beckhams are happy in Beverly Hills, Victoria Beckham has a thriving fashion career in L.A., and the couple's three sons -- all speaking with perfect So Cal accents -- have spent most to all of their childhoods in Southern California. Their infant daughter, Harper, was born here.
British tabloid Daily Star Sunday cited sources close to Victoria Beckham in its report last month that the former Posh Spice, from the Spice Girls pop group, had “told David she doesn't want to live [in Paris]. She told him she found it hard enough adjusting to life in L.A. when they first moved, and she is putting her foot down.”
French media have reported that Victoria Beckham has scouted Paris for housing, and her husband's contract with PSG would include a home and berths in a prestigious school for Brooklyn, 12, Romeo, 9, and Cruz, 6. The Galaxy, according to multiple reports, have offered Beckham a post-playing career position in club owner AEG's hierarchy.
Qatar Sports Investments, a quasi-governmental agency that is PSG's majority stockholder, remains convinced Beckham is coming.
“We are confident that he will be in attendance for [Wednesday's friendly in Dubai against] AC Milan,” an official said Friday, “and are happy to see David and his family settle into Paris.”
REDKNAPP SAYS: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who tried to bring Beckham to north London on loan a year ago, praised the English star in remarks after news was confirmed that Arsenal will have New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry on loan for seven weeks.
“I tried to do something similar with Beckham at the start of the year, but it never came off for us on the playing side,” Redknapp told British media Friday. “I'd have him back tomorrow, because he was such a fantastic player to have around the place. Becks is a class act. Everybody loved him here, there is no side to him at all.
“If you could only see how he behaves, how he works hard at the game he loves, how he practices, you would appreciate what I am telling you. No amount of coaching in the world can give a player those qualities. You have them or you don't.”