David Beckham has been presented with an alternative option to his bid to start a Major League Soccer club in Miami that could see him instead go head-to-head with his former club, the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Beckham, who played for the Galaxy from 2007 to 2012, was approached this week to become part of a consortium led by Asian investors who are planning to bid for L.A.'s other MLS club, Chivas USA, according to a source with direct knowledge of the offer.
The former England national team midfielder and global style icon has become frustrated with his attempts to gain permission for a new stadium in Miami.
Miami mayor Tomas Regalado – previously an ally of an investment group consisting of Beckham, entertainment guru Simon Fuller and Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure – turned down a proposal that would have seen construction for a 25,000-seat stadium at a prime waterfront site. That left Beckham's group to report in a statement that it would "pause and weigh alternatives."
One of those alternatives would appear to be from the group interested in Chivas USA, which is backed by Chinese and South Korean investors with holdings in property and the construction industry, according to the source.
Representatives of Beckham were not available for comment on Thursday. It is likely that the 39-year-old's first choice would still be Miami, but if he continues to meet roadblocks, the L.A option could become his preferred move.
"The consortium would love to have David involved for his international appeal and, of course, his popularity in Los Angeles," the source said.
"The plan is to establish the club as a force, move it away from its current location and build a serious fan base in L.A. that would enable it to compete with the Galaxy both in terms of branding and on the field."
Former Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara sold his interest to the league earlier this year after the franchise had become something of an embarrassment to MLS due to miniscule crowds and a dismal record on the field.
MLS is seeking a buyer and wants the club to be rebranded and moved away from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Beckham had a clause entered into his initial MLS playing contract in 2007 enabling him to become an owner for a cut-price fee at the end of his playing career. While that contract contained an exclusion clause preventing him from setting up close to another club, the league might be persuaded to waive the requirement in interest of revitalizing the shambles now known as Chivas.
Miami is seen as a potentially lucrative soccer market and is likely still in pole position with Beckham if the stadium situation can be resolved. However, given the latest developments, that won't stop MLS fans from speculating on the tantalizing possibility of Beckham returning to Los Angeles.