- Jason Davis

The reaction to David Beckham's training stint with Tottenham being extended a further two weeks while his Galaxy teammates gear up for the MLS season was about as surprising as a Dema Kovalenko horror tackle. We knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when.

Sure enough, when the West Coast finally joined the conversation sometime after noon East Coast time, bile exploded in Becks' specific direction. The assumption, a natural one considering his history of wanting to play anywhere but LA since joining MLS, was that Beckham himself was the impetus behind his longer stay in London. Surely he just doesn't want to be with the Galaxy, which meant he has no respect for his teammates and no sense of responsibility to the team that holds his contract, the biggest contract in this the history of American soccer, mind you. David Beckham, giant cad. Not exactly a news flash, but people like to vent.

There is a chance, of course, that the Galaxy are okay with Beckham nuzzling up to Harry Redknapp for a little while longer (apologies for that mental image). It's very possible that the decision wasn't entirely one-sided, and that the club deemed it to be in their best interest to have their most visible player thousands of miles away while they ramp up their camp. The Galaxy weren't used, they were willing. Whether they preferred to avoid the distraction Beckham would cause, and keep in mind that 2011 is the final year of his contract and the question of his next move will hang in the air for the entire season, or if it's just not an imperative to have Beckham in camp, perhaps there were no objections.

Initially, we were told, though only The Times writer Oliver Kay seemed to have the story, that Beckham would remain in London because he was ahead of his teammates in terms of fitness. Beckham has been training for some time now, while his MLS club has only just opened up the throttle on returning to soccer shape. "Out of sync" is the way it was described, as if Becks is a space shuttle looking to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere for a landing in Arizona, and the window for him to do so doesn't open for another two weeks.

Or, as a late night (US time) press release issued by Galaxy owners AEG must have explained (it's an educated guess that such a release went out; the same details appeared in separate stories from various wire services, Soccernet, etc.), Beckham is a pawn in a strategic partnership between AEG and Spurs involving the Olympic stadium in London. Tottenham is bidding against West Ham to take over the site once the games are completed.

Somehow David Beckham training with Spurs for a few more weeks strengthens that "alliance."

''Part of what has been created is a strategic alliance between AEG and Tottenham. We are beginning to think outside the box on football and how we do things together on football, whether that's David Beckham training or maybe players from Tottenham coming to the Galaxy (or) playing games against each other."

Leiweke also explained that it was his call to prevent Beckham from joining Tottenham on loan this winter, a decision meant to finally allow the Galaxy the benefit of a full season of the midfielder's services. Between loans and injuries, Beckham has yet to provide LA much bang for their buck. Considering that this is the final year of the Experiment, it's about time the annual investment give a whole season return.

So Becks remains in London for now, both waiting for the reentry window to open so he can sync up with his teammates, a delicate operation that involves incredibly high temperatures that threaten the viability of designer hairdos, and solidifying the connection between the Galaxy and Spurs by running around a lot in Tottenham blue and using his right foot to hit the occasional jaw-dropping physics-defying ball that causes men like Harry Redknapp to go weak in the knees. For the player, it's an opportunity to improve his chances of being signed once his MLS contract is over. For the clubs involved, it's an opportunity to synergize the alliance on thinking outside the box for stadium development and long term strategization.

Something like that.

It's really, really hard to give Beckham a pass because his history is one of MLS-avoidance. But if the longer stay is his doing, AEG is going to great lengths to make it look otherwise. I don't think it's going to change many minds.

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