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Mar 6, 2009

Beckham to stay at AC Milan

AC Milan have an agreement in place with Los Angeles Galaxy to keep David Beckham on loan at the Italian club until the end of the Serie A season.

The former England captain, who is contracted to LA, was due to return to Major League Soccer on March 9 but the Rossoneri have been so impressed with his contribution they are keen to keep him at the San Siro.

A deal to sign Beckham on a permanent basis fell through last month after the US club demanded a fee of £12m, but Milan have now agreed a contract to extended the original short-term loan deal until the end of May.

After that, the player, who will then be 34, will return to LA and is expected to use his own cash to activate a buy-out clause in his £4.25m-per-year US contract, leaving him free to finish his playing days in Italy.

Although there has been no official confirmation Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said on Friday that the deal is only a signature away from going public.

"There is a great probability that Beckham will stay at Milan until June," Galliani told Sky Italia. "I am very optimistic, all that is missing is a signature and we need to iron out a couple of things.

"In any case we are almost there. We are on the right track and the signature could arrive in a few hours today or tomorrow (Saturday) at the very latest."

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was asked by reporters what he thought of the deal as he left the club's Milanello training pitch on Friday and said: "We are happy, very, very happy."

Beckham, who signed a five-year deal with LA in January 2007, moved to Milan in January to stay fit during the MLS off-season and so maintain his bid for a place in Fabio Capello's England squad.

During Milan's midweek trip to Qatar for a money-spinning friendly with Al Sadd, Beckham said: "My experience in Milan has been incredible."

"These have been two and a half months with one of the biggest clubs in the world, some of the best players and one of the best coaches. I have already said I want to stay in Milan."

On the same trip to the Middle East Galliani told Soccernet: "Ideally Beckham won't be going back on Monday [March 9] to Los Angeles."

"The best thing that could possibly happen is that he stays until the 30th of June. We have to understand the importance that LA Galaxy have a contract with David. We have to honour that."

Under the terms of the expected 'timeshare' agreement Beckham will not have the sort of long break most players in Europe enjoy in the summer, instead having several shorter breaks.

He will have some time off before rejoining Galaxy 17 games into the MLS season in July, and then another break before returning to Milan in November.

He will also benefit from the winter break in Serie A and believes that will make him at least as fresh as any Premier League player when the World Cup comes around.

• Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has backed his former player's decision to remain with Milan.

"It is good for him, there is no question about that because it is the right type of football," said Ferguson.

"I spoke to David when he came for dinner with us in Milan. He was hoping it was going to happen and he wanted it to happen. I have no doubt it is the best thing for him."

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