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Beckham to Paris: Performance or Popularity?

Beckham answering questions at Thursday's press conference

With the transfer deadline slamming shut in its usual over-hyped way,the headlines on the papers sports pages the next day were an overrated Samba's move to QPR, a player failing to force a move and the odd exotic loan deal for the top clubs younger players. The front and back pages however were filled to the brim of the free transfer of David Beckham.

Paris Saint Germain looks to be his final destination In football. At the age of 37 many forget that he is only a year or two younger than the elder statesmen, Giggs and Scholes. Who's performances are slowly decreasing at Old Trafford, rarely will you see them on the same pitch at the same time. In the summer of 2011,

PSG Star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Qatari business man Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani bought a 70% stake In PSG and soon started his own French Revolution, bringing in the household football names of Menez, Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Lavezzi, Pastore and Thiago Motta for a combined fee of around £130 million among many others. In January 2013 they completed the long arranged deal for 20 year old Brazilian Lucas Moura for a staggering 40 million Euros. He joins a group filled with promising youngster's Mamadou Sakho, Marco Verreti and 2010 World Cup final starter Gregory Van der Wiel.

So where does Beckham fit in? the squad is brim full with talent, top of the French league, cruising a difficult champions league group with an impressive 15 points and looking like a potential favourite to lift both trophies. So why sign a 37 year old for 6 months in a team where he would struggle to get into the rotting talent still floating around the reserves, from before the takeover.
Beckham holding aloft the MLS Cup

Beckham is being paid 3 million in wages over the 6 months, a fee that will kindly be put straight into a children's charity in Paris. The long run popularity PSG will gain across the world from signing Beckham is worth probably around 10 times more what there paying him. In shirt sales alone Beckham shirts will sell by the hundreds of thousands at £40 a pop. In his time at America before he had even been unveiled as a LA galaxy player, The club announced 250,000 Beckham shirts had been sold, an intake of around 1 million pounds. Tv rights, adverts, sponsorship and an increased fan base are the real money makers for PSG. After his first game for the club people in the USA, China, Japan, the UK, and Africa in fact almost every country around the world will know Beckhams new club and those previously unaware of there successes and acquisitions will be forced to listen by the sheer might of "brand Beckham". 

After playing substandard football in the USA in a league where the quality is closer to the A league in Australia than the brutal nature of the Champions league that can even make the best players look exceedingly average this will be a massive perhaps unmanageable step.. Gone are the days of the wonderfully floated crosses and "that goal" against Greece. These days it's all about brand Beckham and the money golden balls can bring.

By James Cartwright (The Football History Boys)

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