David Beckham update: AEG's Leiweke says deal "not done yet"
And, just like that, David Beckham did not vanish into the French night.
Assumed to be all but gone -– bags virtually packed, if you believed some European media reports -- the 36-year-old global icon won’t be going to the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain, according to team officials.
But there is not a deal in place for Beckham to stay with the MLS champion Galaxy. Not yet, at least.
"The stories were all over the front page of every newspaper in Europe that he was going to Paris; I told everyone I would not pay a lot of attention to that," said AEG’s Tim Leiweke, in a telephone interview with The Times. "And now that the stores are that he is going to the Galaxy, I would repeat the same advice: Premature.
"We have been talking with David about staying with the Galaxy for three months. And I said back in November, I was confident David would stay here and I still am.
"Does it look more likely that is heading in that direction? Yes. Are we done? No."
There are many other issues complicating the situation. PSG was and is not the only powerhouse interested in acquiring Beckham, said Leiweke, who is the chief executive officer and president of AEG.
"It’s not just Paris. He’s had other offers," Leiweke said. "And every one is greater and more expansive, bigger than anything we’re talking about. In addition to that, we have the added complication that David has the right to purchase a franchise in this league.
"There are a lot of issues we are going through. We are committed to David and he has always felt strongly about the Galaxy in L.A., and it does not surprise me that his family would prefer to stay in L.A. But we’re not done yet."
They have made substantial progress in negotiations.
"We’re down the road," Leiweke said. "I am confident we’ll get it done. We have to work to do but we’re not there yet. And as much as I didn’t get too low when they were planning the parade down the Champs-Elysees … now as much as the media is reporting that we’re done, I’ve been on the phone with his people all day. Trust me, we’re not done."
Photo: David Beckham hasn't given a full thumbs-up to the Galaxy yet. Credit: Jason Redmond / AP.