IT seems like it's pretty much certain then. Lady Posh of Essex has been seen shopping in the city and apparently she loves the cosmopolitan atmosphere. Schools are being lined up and ten-bedroom houses sought by exclusive estate agents. Lord Becks of Posh is excited about the move and allegedly said he loves the country and its food. There's just no stopping his move from United to the city's biggest and most successful football team, or so it seems by reading the English press. I just can't help but wonder, though, despite being knocked out of the Champions League, surely a move to the New York Metrostars is a step downward from Manchester United for Becks. Wouldn't a move to a more illustrious team like Real Madrid be a step in a better, more forward, direction? I'm not sure the media have it right. I know Becks wants to make it big in the States, somewhere few people have heard of him (lucky devils), but just because Posh was seen amongst the Gucci stores there this week it doesn't mean the move is definite. I have a funny feeling Madrid will wade in with a big offer over the summer, just to snub those pesky Metrostars from grabbing all the best players in the world. In all seriousness if it was just the English tabloids harping on about Becks moving to Madrid I would not be taking a blind bit of notice. Let's remember, over the past two seasons, the tabloids have had Patrick Vieira signed sealed and delivered to the Bernabeu on several occasions. They've also had Mark Viduka, Michael Owen and, quite ridiculously, Alan Shearer moving to the Spanish capital in deals they've claimed have been done and dusted. In fact not so long ago Becks was on his way to Inter Milan with Posh hosting her own show on Italian TV, one of those naughty 60 minute programmes they like late at night in Italy with stripping housewives, if my memory serves me correctly. These are the same newspapers, in the broadest sense of the word, that use the label Nazi for anyone they don't like and have 500 word articles of one syllable on the front page about how some stardom-seeking celebrities have been smuggling food to an island on some half-witted TV show with Belgium Obliterated by Nuclear Bomb relegated to page 17. However, Spain's biggest sports paper, Marca, are also quite confident of Beckham joining their favoured team of Real. Marca, when not quoting English newspapers but reporting from their own sources, are typically correct in transfer rumours and if they claim Becks is on his way then there is a distinct possibility he will be wearing the famous white shirt next season, albeit underneath a tracksuit top as he tries to keep warm during matches. In fact it has been claimed that Becks' appearance on the bench watching the likes of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane during the second-leg of the Champions League quarter-finals last week was ideal preparation if he actually does come to Madrid, while Steve McManaman is, apparently, very excited about Becks arriving in Spain; it will give him someone to chat to while they watch matches. While nearly every sports and feature writer in the world has commented on whether or not Becks would make the starting line-up at Real, not much has been written about how he would fit in to Spanish life. Becks, to his credit, is very much a family man and it would probably mean his whole family moving over to Madrid, a large upheaval. Would he struggle with the language? Most likely seeing as he finds it hard to string together a sentence in English.
Also, would he manage to hold on to his England captaincy if he's not getting much playing time? Macca, although a more rounded player now than he ever was at Liverpool, missed the World Cup due to lack of playing time at Real. Could this happen to Becks? Possibly and it's something he will have to keep in mind. The most annoying thing is that it seems Becks is not even wanted for his footballing skills. I am yet to speak to anyone who watches a lot of live football (in other words not the “experts” in the armchairs who see the highlights once a week) who thinks Becks is in the same league as Figo or Zidane. That is other than the numerous journalists in the pocket of certain companies who tell us every day how good he is to boost his brand imaging. Madrid have little need for Becks other than as a marketing tool and that's one of the sadder things about football. As important, or more so in Becks' case, is the fact that he can move the shirts off the rails as is his ability to score or create goals. More relevant is his ability to sell sunglasses than his capacity to influence the outcome of a match. As for Fergie at United, I am sure he will not think long if a decent bid comes in for the Spice Boy. Fergie hates the culture of celebrity -- one of the few in Britain who does, it seems. The determined Scotsman is looking for a player who can take opposing players on. After crashing out of the Champions League to a far superior Real, he claimed Madrid were better than United because the Spanish side have at least four players -- Ronaldo, Raul, Zidane and Figo -- who can beat players in important positions, while United only have one -- Giggs -and he's not been on top form this season. He was alluding to the fact that Becks rarely takes players on, and, although he can knock in a stunning free-kick with a deft right foot and sometimes his long balls are spot on it is obviously not the way to make the final of the Champions League. Becks is also quite often non-existent in matches. Where was he in the first-leg, the more important of the two matches for United? He was not to be seen, in fact you would have been forgiven for thinking he wasn't even in the starting line-up. I, for one, would love to see Becks in Spain. He is not improving in the Premier League and for England's sake we need a much better, more dimensional player to lead the centre of midfield if the national team is ever going to win a major competition again. The only way that will happen will be through hard work, because if he carries on the way he is now, with celebrity as important to him as football, he will not only be seeing a lot of the Madrid bench, he will also be seeing a lot of the England bench. Not to mention the New York Metrostars' one.


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