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Becks' ESPN Buzzkill; Rumors at RSL, FCD

  • SI.com, Friday, July 20, 2007 2:45 PM
If he makes any appearance at all, David Beckham's L.A. Galaxy debut against Chelsea, says SI.com's Grant Wahl, will most likely be a "token appearance" because ESPN was planning a "blowout Beckham extravaganza," featuring 19 cameras, including one just for Becks and one for his celebrity pals. Coverage on Saturday begins with a Beckham special on SportsCenter at 6 pm ET, followed by an hour-long documentary on his career and then a 30-minute pre-game show before the game. Too bad David later downplayed his chances of playing at all during his interview at halftime of the MLS All-Star Game Thursday night. Meanwhile, Wahl says Becks may not get much airtime at all on ESPN's networks, as three of the Galaxy's six scheduled appearances on ESPN2 fall on days when England plays Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Shifting gears, Wahl says the most attractive offer on the table for 18-year-old Freddy Adu is a $2.5 million bid from Portuguese giant Benfica, which sounds low considering Adu's performances at the U-20 World Cup. But Wahl says, "Real Salt Lake wouldn't be heartbroken to see Adu go," because Adu never played as well for the MLS team. Separately, RSL says it will soon sign either Jay-Jay Okocha or an unnamed Argentine as its designated player; FC Dallas is also reportedly close to signing Brazil veteran Denilson.

Speaking of DPs, Wahl says that MLS quietly rolled out a new rule stating that mid-season DP acquisitions (including Beckham and Blanco) would only count $200K against a club's salary cap, instead of the usual $400K. Wahl says this is a reason the likes of RSL and FCD are still chasing after DPs.

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