Can Milan fix this match?

I only care about Beckham at this point because (a) my favorite team happens to be involved, and (b) I'm still optimistic about a conclusion that ends up being highly embarrassing to Beckham.

Which is more than enough for me to snicker and giggle at how badly things have been going for both him and ACM since the Inter game. While I am a remarkably shallow and petty person, I don't want to insult your intelligence. It would be easy for to say something like "Do the Galaxy even want him back? Klein and Kovalenko are probably ahead of him on the right mid depth chart." But that wouldn't show proper respect to you, the reader. Beckham can be a very useful backup in central mid or right back. He's good enough to make the Galaxy roster, and don't let anyone tell you differently.

I had such high hopes about the headline to this article, called "Too bad MLS can't auction off Beckham." I thought it would be a reasonable analysis of how the arbitrariness of transfer windows hurts smaller clubs and leagues. Instead...well, read it and weep:

1. HOLY CRAP! AEG shouldn't settle for $3 million? They should demand what they think he's worth? WHY DIDN'T ANYONE SUGGEST THIS BEFORE?

2. Forcing a team of multi-millionaires to play an exhibition game in front of fans who hate them? How does that help anyone?

3. Yeah, because Beckham is all about talent. If David Beckham had been American and Alexi Lalas had been English, Beckham today would be a former commentator for ESPN, and Lalas would be the second most famous man in the world.

(Absolute opposite reaction to this here.)

Bill had this first, but it really needs beating into the ground:

Not to keep in form. Not to maintain his England place. Not because Serie A was the pinnacle of the sport. Can we please admit he's not a soccer player anymore, and treat him as a money-making asset?

ITTET*, MLS and the Galaxy need to squeeze every last dollar out of the Beckham infatuation, to use one of Tim Leiweke's words. Beckham's only use now is as a media jack-in-the-box, and he knows it. He's going to be doing this personal appearance and garbage friendly nonsense anyway, so he might as well do it for American soccer.

I admit, I've been a tiny bit suspicious about hearing nothing from Leiweke or Garber the past week or so. Beckham, who would literally be the last to know, is still yammering about there being good news, and Milan is still yammering about negotiating. There's no trace of Beckham on the Galaxy website, except on the roster - but he's still in full color on the Phoenix Soccer Clasico splash page. AEG is perfectly capable of putting a stop to all this if it wants to. Why don't they?

They might think Milan will fold. We're now at the other end of the spectrum from the Inter game - Milan now officially needs to sweat the Champions League. They are three points clear of fifth, four points clear of sixth. Another bungled result, and ACM would probably be willing to pay what AEG wants.

That's assuming either side is looking at Beckham as a pro athlete at this point, though.

I'd still like to see Beckham write Phil a big, fat check, but nobody has hinted at that aloud, except Leiweke a few weeks ago to dismiss the possibility.

Literally the only leverage Beckham and Milan (once again, highly foolish of Team Beckham to assume those interests were identical, or even more than vaguely related) over AEG is, well, the idea of Beckham spending a few months pouting before November. Since a non-trivial part of Beckham's image is his alleged professionalism, dedication and perseverance, that would be a remarkably easy bluff to call.

Beckham might claim injury, only to see the chance at that England record float away forever. But even England fans are beginning to realize that the last thing a World Cup qualifying campaign needs is the Team Beckham circus distracting the other clowns.

Now, if I were Tim, I'd simply tell my close, personal friend David that if he doesn't show up to play, I'd start a rumor that he's on the bench, or desperate to leave MLS, because he flunked a drug test. The nice thing about a worldwide press that will print literally anything is that they will, in fact, print literally anything. All Leiweke would have to is call a press conference and say that they strongly, emphatically deny categorically any hint of any rumor or speculation that Beckham took any proscribed substances whatsoever, and threaten to sue anyone who said or implied otherwise. Beckham's reputation would be in ruins by dinnertime.

But I'm not a fine, upstanding businessman and sportsman like Tim Leiweke.

This took too long, and I didn't get to Barcelona allegedly blaming Beckham for having cold feet about Miami. Remind me to get to that. Or don't. It's entirely up to you.

*In These Tough Economic Times. That's an official acronym by now, right?