NINE GAMES Beckham’s Spurs switch set to be a short one

FORMER England captain David Beckham has edged closer to a sensational loan move to Spurs – but his return to English football looks likely to be limited to just nine games.

Beckham’s camp insist any short-term deal would have to fall in line with the start of the Major League Soccer season, which begins on 15 March. The 35-year-old would, therefore, be expected to return to LA Galaxy before the second leg of Tottenham’s Champions League tie against his former team, AC Milan.

Even if Spurs were to secure an agreement with Beckham’s parent club today, he would be ineligible to make his debut against Everton tomorrow, while the FA Cup 3rd round clash against Charlton may also come too soon.

That could pave the way for Beckham to make what would be an emotional first appearance in the English top flight since 2003 against his old side Manchester United on 16 January.

Beckham could figure in six other Premier League matches, including the north London derby, while he could also feature against AC Milan, should Spurs boss Harry Redknapp (inset) decide to include him in his European squad at the expense of a player who would be available beyond the next round.

Such a move would seem unlikely, however, unless Spurs were able to extend the loan agreement until the end of the domestic season – as Milan themselves managed to do so in each of the last two January transfer windows – but for now, a spokesman for Beckham insists the player will return in March to fulfill his Stateside commitments.

“We are waiting on the decision of LA Galaxy with regards to a loan move,” said the spokesman. “The loan would be a short one until the start of the MLS season. David would then play a full season with the Galaxy.

“Tottenham are one of many clubs who are interested but as yet we have not got into any detailed conversations as we are waiting on LA Galaxy’s decision.”

Spurs, who are tipped to be prepared to pay Beckham a salary of £125,000 per week, saw their hopes of signing Beckham, who still harbours hope of an England recall, strengthened yesterday, when Newcastle manager Alan Pardew all but conceded defeat in his attempts to lure the player to Tyneside.

Pardew said: “It is unlikely, we have other targets which have more chance of coming to fruition than that one.”

WHERE ELSE COULD HE GO?
NEWCASTLE
A big signing would enhance Alan Pardew’s standing, but unless Becks fancies swapping memories with Sol Campbell he’ll have to look elsewhere. Odds: 5/1

EVERTON
Becks knows the north west well, but he has already dismissed the idea of turning out at Goodison Park due to its proximity to his old stomping ground, Old Trafford. Odds: 12/1

WEST HAM
A return to the East End of London would hold sentimental value, but not much else. A relegation dogfight wouldn’t carry any allure for Becks. Odds: 20/1

BLACKBURN
The new owners at Ewood Park could do with a popularity boosting stellar signing, but Ronaldinho appears to be their main target. Odds: NA