LA Galaxy chief warns Milan over Beckham
Los Angeles Galaxy supremo Tim Leiweke has warned AC Milan he "will not be taken for a ride" as the Rossoneri attempt to prise David Beckham away from Major League Soccer.
Beckham is currently on a short-term loan with Milan which is due to expire on March 9 but his impact in Serie A has been such that they are now looking to keep him at the San Siro for longer.
The two clubs have held talks but Leiweke, the president and chief executive of AEG - the company which owns the Galaxy - has branded Milan's offer of £2.1 million as "ridiculous".
"We are not close," Leiweke told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Two weeks ago, Milan made a ridiculous offer, to which I replied 'no' in a few seconds.
"With that figure, Galaxy don't even cover the damages deriving from the shortfalls of not selling his shirts.
"Since then, no-one has made any moves. There are no meetings arranged."
Leiweke's revelations will come as a surprise to Milan fans after the vice-president of the Rossoneri, Adriano Galliani, said yesterday the Italian outfit had edged closer to keeping England midfielder Beckham.
"I have decided to speak up because I have read too many inaccurate stories," Leiweke said.
"After that ridiculous offer, Milan have not done anything. They have tried other people, from the commissioner of the league (Don Garber) to David's representatives, but not us, who own his rights."
Leiweke is annoyed by the way Milan have handled the situation.
"If David doesn't return, who will replace him?" he said.
"Our transfer market is already closed. If Milan are so determined to keep him, why are they taking so long? Do they think that we will settle for less money? They are mistaken."
Leiweke says the ramifications of Beckham not remaining with the Galaxy are significant for the team, and soccer in the United States.
"What Milan don't understand is that behind this story, there are fans that are renouncing subscriptions, sponsors that want damages and rival teams that have the right to know if the Galaxy will play at their stadium with or without Beckham.
"David is an incredible professional and I am happy for him and for Milan that his Italian experience is going so well. This confirms that our choice to bring him to the United States was the right one."
Leiweke made it clear that he bears no grudge against Beckham.
"David is a friend and asked me to listen to what Milan proposed," he said.
"I have said yes, because of him. But I will not be taken for a ride and hence, on March 9, Beckham will be in Los Angeles and will work with the same seriousness and dedication as before.
"He already knows he doesn't have a choice because the first option to come out of his contract is at the end of 2009."
Beckham signed a five-year contract with the Galaxy in January 2007 after a successful spell with Real Madrid.
"What really matters is that Milan make a real offer," Leiweke said.
"I don't wish to talk about the offer but the figures (£12 million) that I have read in the United States are close to what we want."