DAVID BECKHAM trained with Spurs for the first time yesterday and there was even a glimpse of the number -- 77 -- he might wear if he gets to play for the club.
But there was still no breakthrough in negotiations to persuade LA Galaxy to allow him to remain beyond February 10.
With Everton also declaring that captain Phil Neville was not for sale -- after it was revealed that Spurs had made an inquiry -- it was a day of frustration for Harry Redknapp.
The Spurs manager said he had not given up hope of signing Beckham on a short-term loan deal, but chairman Daniel Levy will have to persuade Galaxy to allow the 35-year-old to stay until the end of next month, which could require cash compensation.
Alternatively, Spurs will have to decide that having Beckham for only five games is worth the sacrifice of a place in their 25-man squad. Redknapp will have to make a decision before the end of the week if he wants the midfielder to be available for Sunday's game at home to Manchester United.
There are no money concerns over the deal itself -- fees, wages, rights or insurance -- but Galaxy want Beckham back in time to prepare for the MLS season which starts in mid-March.
"It's great to have him here," Redknapp said. "Whether a deal will be possible, I'm not sure."
Beckham passed a medical at Spurs on Monday, allowing him to train and play if his registration can be agreed.
Meanwhile, United manager Alex Ferguson believes that the influx of foreign owners into English football has created a widespread air of impatience with managers that has become "worse and worse" and led to a sharp rise in managerial casualties.
Gary Johnson's departure from Peterborough on Monday left him as the 22nd to lose his job in the Premier League and Football League this season.
Remarkably, the League Managers' Association claims that 1,023 managers have left their clubs either through dismissal, resignation or mutual consent since Ferguson succeeded Ron Atkinson as United manager in November 1986.
And, although United's American owners, the Glazer family, have played a hands-off role since taking over in May 2005, Ferguson believes that the key factor in the new climate of fear is the increasing number of foreign owners.
Ferguson said: "You've got all different types of cultures coming into the game now and running football clubs and I don't think they have the same patience of older generations. I don't think the game has the same stable directorships it used to have, with clubs having the grandfather and father being chairman for 40-odd years." (© Daily Telegraph, London)