DAVID BECKHAM for Tottenham? Two weeks ago even Spurs manager Harry Redknapp denied it was in the offing. But yesterday a slip of the tongue indicated negotiations have already begun to bring the former England captain to White Hart Lane.
Redknapp admitted that Beckham would be "great to have around the place", both for his football ability and for the mentoring influence he would have on players such as Aaron Lennon and younger members of the squad.
The fact that the manager even responded to questions about Beckham after club sources had claimed only two days ago there was nothing to the reports linking the LA Galaxy midfielder to a three-month loan spell spoke volumes.
But then, in explaining that if Beckham joined he would not be guaranteed a start, Redknapp spoke of him in the present tense, rather than the conditional, indicating preliminary talks may have taken place.
"He'd have to fight for his place, he's not going to play every game, he knows -- he'd know -- that," said Redknapp, correcting himself. "(But) he'd be a good influence, he's the type of lad that would be good at your club. He'd give the place a lift. You need people like that around you. He has been a fantastic player and is someone the players would look up to and respect. He could still do a job, for sure, if he is over his injuries and he is as fit as he thinks he is."
Beckham, who spent two three-month spells at Milan over the last two seasons, has made it clear he is keen on a similar spell of top-level football before his final season at LA Galaxy begins. He has even appeared to soften his stance on refusing to play for any Premier League side except Manchester United, where he began his professional career.