Beckham's playing hard to get

Will he or won't he … David Beckham plays against the Jets in Newcastle in 2010.
Will he or won't he … David Beckham plays against the Jets in Newcastle in 2010.

MEGASTAR footballer David Beckham has echoed his management's denials, saying he has no plans to play in the A-League early next year after his contract with US side LA Galaxy expires.

But the FFA is still hopeful of striking a deal.

''Yeah [Galaxy coach Bruce Arena] told me that this morning,'' Beckham said yesterday of the talk about him possibly heading to an Australian club for a 10-game guest stint. That's the first I've heard of that, this morning. But no, definitely not true.''

Despite the adamant message from Beckham's management that their client had ''absolutely no plans to play in Australia'', amid excited rumours that agents were seeking a deal, Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop remained positive on Saturday, telling Triple M ''a similar thing happened with [Alessandro] Del Piero in terms of the contact and, as we all know, that came to be. So let's just see how this one plays out.''

Depending on who you listen to, Beckham is either very keen to head to Australia or completely uninterested. If Beckham's comments are to be taken at face value, the dream is over already. But, with many competing obligations and responsibilities - and big money at stake - all might not be as it seems.

''At the mere mention of Beckham's name, it did leak out and there's been a mushroom of interest,'' Gallop said. ''There's definitely been some contact made and let's just see where it gets to.

''We're not counting our chickens in relation to this … but obviously people would prefer negotiations to happen behind closed doors.''

Gallop said it was up to the clubs to take the initiative in the negotiations as FFA could not directly employ a player. He urged them to continue to work towards achieving a deal.

''I think the connection points now are going to be between the A-League clubs that are interested and Beckham's management, so we'll just have to let that dialogue happen,'' Gallop said.

''But the timing is pretty good in terms of him being able to come in on a guest stint from the middle of January for 10 games. I think it's a bit of a wait-and-see situation. Of course, it would be fantastic but let's not get ahead of ourselves at this point.''

One of the clubs rumoured to be in the hunt for Beckham has been Western Sydney Wanderers, who play Perth Glory today in Perth.

The fledgling club, after consecutive victories, fell 2-1 to the Newcastle Jets last round, while the Glory drew with Adelaide United.

Glory player Jacob Burns, who was raised in western Sydney, told Sportal he was pleased the area now had a top-flight football team to support. ''It's always been a really strong football area,'' Burns said.

''It's fantastic to see that they now have a team they can call their own. They've been going really well and the crowds have been going out there in great numbers and it's just what the A-League needed, to be honest.''

Twitter -@davesygall

This story Beckham's playing hard to get first appeared on Brisbane Times.