Galaxy boss Arena backs Beckham loan deal
The Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has backed David Beckham's loan move to AC Milan as being beneficial to the Major League Soccer club.
Beckham, 33, will join Milan for two months in January in a bid to stay match fit and available for England selection during the MLS close season in the United States.
Arena said the Galaxy had insisted the England midfielder return from Italy to begin the 2009 league campaign in March.
And the former USA national team coach told reporters on Thursday he was happy to let Beckham go to the Serie A club, who have also agreed to enter into a ''technical relationship'' with the MLS outfit, the details of which have yet to be disclosed.
''I'm fine with everything,'' Arena said. ''I have a very good feel for the situation. We've been in, and we'll continue to be in contact with AC Milan and we have a technical relationship with them as well.
''We're all agreed in principle and everybody's happy. A short-term loan works,'' Arena added. ''I did this at DC United with Marco Etcheverry, with Jaime Moreno, with Ben Olsen - I don't have a problem with it. He's going to be back in March and we believe it's going to be around March 1 and he will be available for our opening game.
''I haven't seen the exact details of the loan agreement yet but we fully anticipate that this loan is for approximately two months although there is a possibility he could go in December.The most important aspect of this loan in our view is that he is back here early March.''
Arena said the length of Beckham's loan spell had been the only sticking point in negotiations between the two clubs as he bids to turn the Galaxy around after they missed out on the post-season MLS Cup play-offs for the second year in a row.
''We have a couple of objectives here. We are absolutely adamant about the fact that the club has not played well over the last couple of years,'' Arena continued.
''We think it's critical that we start 2009 the right way and that we place an improved team on the field because we have great fans and great support here.
''In order to do that we need David Beckham on the field and we need to have all of our key players here as we open our 2009 season if we're going to move forward and that was the critical aspect in this loan, there's no question about that.''
Arena also said he was pleased to have forged a technical partnership with the Italian club.
''I'm prepared to tell you how we're going to benefit from this but I think it's just a positive that we are working with a club of this stature.''
Arena added that the cancellation of the Galaxy's tour game in Australia against the Queensland Roar on December 11 in Brisbane had been as a precaution against Beckham being unavailable.
''We were hesitant to go ahead and commit without knowing whether David would be there or not,'' he explained. ''I imagine this allows David to have a little bit of a break before he heads over to Italy.''