Thursday, 31 January 2013

Boules d'or! David Beckham arrives at Paris Saint-Germain

What a day.

Just as Paris Saint-Germain's transfer window was shaping up to be quieter than a nun's birthday party, the club dropped a massive news bomb on us earlier today by snapping up former England skipper David Beckham.

Since leaving LA Galaxy, 37-year-old Becks has been chased by some teams you've never heard of all the world's top clubs, but finally decided to eschew the delights of playing in Australia or the Middle East in order to have a shot at glory in Paris.

"I'm very lucky to have so many offers at 37 years of age. In the last few months, I feel like I've received more crap offers than throughout my entire career," noted D-Beck at his grand unveiling, which took place earlier this afternoon. Interestingly he didn't get the grand Eiffel Tower treatment a la Ibra, I was half hoping that he'd reprise his part in the opening ceremony of the Olympics and come speeding down the Seine in a boat.

He continued: "Obviously I won't be playing at the very highest level for a long time to come, but it's a great honour for me to have been picked to help Paris Saint-Germain become one of the biggest football clubs in the world."

Becks has signed a deal until the end of the season, with all the cash he would have earned being split between the charities supported by the PSG Foundation. Bless his heart.

I honestly don't know what to make of this signing. I'm not a Beckham-hater, and it's hard not to be a bit excited at the prospect of him turning out at the Parc-des-Princes, and maybe even banging in a free kick or two. Plus the donation of wages is a nice gesture and a piece of PR genius; it's easy to be cynical about footballers all the time, and I usually prefer people not to shout about their charitable donations but, none-the-less, bravo Becks and whoever thought up that particular scheme.

But I can't help but think this signing has come a year too late. We needed a marquee name last season to announce our presence to the world, but now we already have two - the best defender on the planet in Thiago Silva and one of the top strikers in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Everyone already knows that PSG mean business, I'm not sure what having Beckham on board brings to the party, other than helping to flog a load of shirts in Asia. It's not the conduct of a truly big club to chase a player with limited on-pitch value just because of his profile, and it makes us look like a bit of a circus.

Moreover, in the long run will it be good for our profile, or good for Beckham's profile? He could be gone in five months, and if so his spell in France will be little other than a footnote on his illustrious career. It seems unlikely his presence alone will be enough to garner PSG a worldwide fanbase in such a short period of time.

From a footballing perspective it makes little sense either. Is Beckham going to make the difference between us winning or losing the Ligue 1 title? Probably not; we should win it anyway with our squad. Is he going to make the difference in the Champions League? Probably not, we're unlikely to win it, and it's not like we don't already have players with experience at the highest level.

What is true is that our midfield often lacks a Beckham-type player, someone who can pick a pass and set us on our way going forward. Perhaps his presence will be good influence on Verratti, who will hopefully play that role on a regular basis once he adds some maturity to his game. But Beckham has never been someone who looks comfortable doing things at pace, and my fear is he'll further slow down a team which already at times can look sluggish and laboured in its passing.

As you can probably tell I remain sceptical, but what's for certain is that his presence should keep things interesting between now and the end of the season. Bienvenue Boules D'or!


Le Bourbier said...

Verratti needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. Stupid yellow cards for mouthing off get on my tits. Beckham is just a one trick show pony. The sooner he fucks off the better. The next five months can't come quick enough. The charity gesture is just a tax dodge.

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