The Los Angeles Galaxy will make Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard its primary target if David Beckham leaves the club, a decision that could be made in the next 48 hours.
Beckham is poised to make the call on his future once his current Galaxy deal expires on the last day of 2011. He'd either return for at least a year or join French side Paris Saint-Germain.
If he departs, attention in L.A. would immediately turn to Lampard, who has been frustrated at being forced to play a restricted role at Chelsea this season. New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has regularly left the former runner-up in the World Football of the year award on the substitutes’ bench, casting his future at the West London club into doubt.
It remains to be seen whether Lampard would be prepared to move during the January transfer window, especially with next summer’s European Championships fast approaching.
However, sources close to the 33-year-old confirmed he was strongly interested in following Beckham's route and sampling life in California, and one potential obstacle was removed recently when his television host fiancée Christine Bleakley left her job as presenter of BBC’s "The One Show."
Reports in England claim Beckham and Lampard spoke to one another about a possible move to America, and that Beckham encouraged his friend and former international colleague to take the plunge.
[ Related: PSG unsure whether David Beckham will leave L.A. ]
Such a move could only occur if Beckham departs, however. The Galaxy possess three designated player spots, and Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan take up two of them. Beckham decamping to Paris seemed all but certain a week ago, but since then it's been thrown into doubt.
Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo appeared to downplay the likelihood of a transfer, citing the Beckham family’s love of living in Los Angeles.
“He is in L.A., he has his family there,” Leonardo said. “We have talked a lot and we are still talking, but I am not sure it will be done.”
Beckham sources indicated he is suddenly leaning toward a new deal with the Galaxy. PSG officials believe that may be a ploy aimed at ushering through a favorable contract in Paris and still hope an arrangement can be reached, and quickly.
[ Related: Carlo Ancelotti brought in to coach ambitious PSG ]
There is upheaval at the French side, though, with Carlo Ancelotti coming in to replace Antoine Kombouare as manager amid talk of big-name player arrivals such as Brazilian stars Kaka and Alexandre Pato.
Much may ultimately depend on where Beckham feels he has the best chance of being in optimum shape ahead of the Olympic Games in London next summer. Great Britain will be fielding a team at the Olympics for the first time in recent memory, and Beckham is expected to be captain and one of three players over the age of 23 allowed in the squad.
The Galaxy would, of course, love to have Beckham back for at least one more year, especially with the side having won the MLS Cup last month.
If the Beckham era is over, though, the Galaxy would have a good chance at landing Lampard, who may not be quite the same kind of cultural icon as Beckham, but would come with an impeccable soccer pedigree.
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