AC Milan director Umberto Gandini is expected to fly out to Los Angeles on Thursday to finally thrash out a deal with LA Galaxy for David Beckham, with sources suggesting the England international will be offered at least an 18-month contract.
The 33-year-old, who has been in fine form since joining the Serie A side on loan in early January, is determined to stay at the San Siro rather than return to Major League Soccer when the deal expires on March 9.
"We hope to sign Beckham until at least June 30, 2010", an AC Milan source told Reuters. It is thought this Friday could now be the crunch date for the proposed full deal.
Beckham initially joined Milan on a temporary basis to keep his form and fitness for England duty before the US season restarts at the end of next month. But he has been a revelation, proving his ability to still perform at the highest level.
Sunday's defeat to Inter in the Milan derby was the first since his arrival. In seven appearances, he has scored two goals and claimed two assists and won the adulation of the Rossoneri faithful.
Now level with Bobby Moore as the record caps holder for an outfield England player, Beckham does not want to jeopardise his chances of playing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa by returning to the United States.
So desperate is Beckham to seal a move it has been suggested that he could buy out his Galaxy contract at a cost of £22.8m with Milan paying part of the sum.
Major League Soccer officials initially imposed a deadline of last Friday for Milan to make the move permanent though that passed without any increase on an initial bid in the region of £5m. It is thought Galaxy are holding out for £12m while Milan are refusing to go higher than £8m.
Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said on Tuesday there was still "a bit of distance" between the two clubs.
Galliani said: "We are negotiating and trying to resolve the problem. Friday could be the crucial day. Between our offer and their request there is still a margin but the will of the player is to remain. We will have to wait and see how it develops - there is still time."
Milan appear reluctant to spend too much money on Beckham as they will have to replace some of their ageing players in the summer, with Liverpool defender Dan Agger high on their wanted list.
Kaka, meanwhile, has become the latest Milan player to praise Beckham.
He said: "Maybe it was a marketing move [for Milan] at first. But today the truth is that he is fundamental. He is a player that in the last games was very decisive, with passes and goals.
"I wish Milan can reach a deal to acquire him permanently because he is a player who can help us now and in the next seasons."