David Beckham has shrugged off reports he is set to move to the A-League after his contract with Los Angeles Galaxy expires, but Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop remains hopeful a deal can still be reached.
Beckham, who is preparing with his Galaxy team-mates to take on the Seattle Sounders in the second leg of the MLS Western Conference finals this Sunday, denied any knowledge of a possible move.
Widespread reports in Australia on Friday linked the former England captain to a 10-game deal starting in mid-January. Beckham's management later played down speculation and the 37-year-old was also quick to return attention to the Galaxy's crucial clash.
"That's the first I've heard about it," Beckham said. "But no, definitely not true."
Gallop acknowledged it was a sensitive time to be discussing Beckham's contract, but likened Beckham's denial to that of Alessandro Del Piero, who played down talk of a move to Sydney FC before signing a two-year deal from Serie A outfit Juventus.
"A similar thing happened with Del Piero in terms of the contact and, as we all know, that came to be," Gallop told Triple M radio. "So let's just see how this one plays out. It's certainly an exciting proposition - no one would deny that.
"We're not counting our chickens in relation to this ... but obviously people would prefer negotiations to happen behind closed doors. At the mere mention of Beckham's name, it did leak out and there's been a mushroom of interest.
"There would have to be a fair few hoops that would have to be jumped through and getting a deal with one of the clubs is the first step. There's definitely been some contact made and let's just see where it gets to."
Meanwhile, with A-League clubs Western Sydney Wanderers, Melbourne Heart and Perth Glory all interested, Beckham's former Manchester United team-mates Dwight Yorke and Mark Bosnich have urged the midfielder to make the switch to Australia.
Yorke helped launch the competition by playing in the inaugural season of the A-League with Sydney FC, and Bosnich feels Beckham would have an even greater impact should a deal be struck.
"David Beckham is open to the idea of playing in Australia - and that's something we all should embrace," Bosnich told Fox Sports.
"I know for a fact that contact has been made between third parties acting on behalf of Beckham and contacts in Australia. He has loved it every time he has visited these shores, he is impressed with the standard of our league and he knows Asia is the future of football.
"I have known Beckham since he was 16 and I can say with confidence that whatever team he joins will be better for it. He is in great physical shape and will be more than happy to work with the younger players.
"He is also a tremendous competitor on the field. Of all the team-mates I've had over the course of my career, he is the player I would want with the ball at his feet when you're 1-0 up, playing away and under lots of pressure. He is as reliable as they come.
"From the bottom of my heart, I hope he makes the move to Australia."