BEIJING: The arrival of David Beckham (pic) is just the beginning for the Los Angeles Galaxy, who plan to match the revenue of English clubs over the next couple of years by luring more big names to California, the president of club owners AEG said on Tuesday.
Timothy Leiweke also said he expected the former England captain would pay for himself before he even kicks a ball for the Major League Soccer (MLS) club and that the team would visit China later this year or early 2008.
“We’re already thinking about who the next player is that will come over and join us as David’s career will undoubtedly wind down,” he told the International Football Arena convention. “This is going to be the way of life for clubs in the United States, in particular for the Galaxy. It will be important for us to go out and identify world-class players who want to come to the United States.
“The key for us is to make sure David’s not the only one, the key for us is to make sure it doesn’t turn into a circus.”
Leiweke said professional soccer in the US was built on much sounder basis than when the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff and George Best came to the US in the 1970s and early 1980s.
He believes the signing of Beckham and other big names will help the Galaxy match some of the richest clubs in the world.
“At the Galaxy we aspire to be like the top clubs in the UK and that means we have to get our revenues near the US$100mil a year mark,” he said. “We have a shot at that over the next couple of years.”
The signing of Beckham in deal worth US$250mil for the current Real Madrid and former Manchester United midfielder marked a paradigm shift for the MLS and the Galaxy.
“He’s had a huge impact on our revenues and a huge impact on what we can do as a club,” Leiweke said.
“As we said from the first day we signed him until now when he still hasn’t stepped on our pitch, David Beckham will pay for himself before he plays one game for the Galaxy.”
Beckham is committed to seeing out his contract at Real and is likely to make his Galaxy debut when English club Chelsea visit Los Angeles in late July. – Reuters