DAVID BECKHAM could cost as much as $200,000 a game but his price tag hasn't deterred three A-League clubs from ramping up their bids to sign the superstar on a 10-match guest stint.
Perth Glory, Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Heart are on stand-by, and are only awaiting his decision to select Australia as a potential destination before entering advanced negotiations with his management.
The Glory will be offering Beckham the most lucrative deal ever across any football code in Australia.
''We've made an offer in the region of $2 million,'' Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said. ''[Glory owner] Tony Sage [will fund the deal], there's no investment from anyone else. Financially, you're paying for what you get, and he's still a good footballer. People forget this.''
Fairfax Media understands Melbourne Heart became the first club to enter preliminary negotiations with Beckham's US management team after holding a teleconference on Monday night.
It is understood that the club offered a deal worth about $1.5 million. The Heart will contribute about $600,000, and the remaining sum is likely to be topped-up by a third party.
On a weekly basis, Perth's offer of $2 million for 10 games is far more than Beckham's salary with LA Galaxy, which was worth over $3.8 million a season. However, Perth believe it will take more than money to lure the former England captain. Beckham has an estimated $260 million fortune, and despite earning the bulk of that in endorsements while in the US, he showed a great ambition to leave a legacy and promote the game during his time with the Galaxy. Perth Glory are hoping that he might again be swayed to do the same and boost the profile of football in a state dominated by AFL.
''The A-League has come on in leaps and bounds,'' Kelly said. ''You've seen the Del Piero effect, you've seen the Heskey effect. He [Beckham] was instrumental in elevating the MLS to where it is now and he likes to leave a legacy. He may choose that very reason why he chose the MLS to come to the A-League. Perth is very underrated, it's a beautiful place to live, it's got a Mediterranean climate, it's got heaps of beaches, it's safe and clean, it's all those things that we'll pitch and it will boil down to what he wants to do. I don't think it's a matter of money, our offer is very competitive, it's got to feel like a place he wants to go to.''
Perth might be geographically isolated from the majority of the population but has proved a popular residence for celebrities in the past. Argentina great Gabriel Batistuta lived in the city for two years after retiring from the game, and still owns a house there. English comedian Ben Elton moved to Perth in 2010, and has become involved with the Glory.
Central Coast Mariners' bid to lure Beckham is also gaining momentum after receiving the financial support of Gosford City Council and Wyong Council. Ad man John Singleton is the main financial backer of the bid but the Mariners are hopeful of adding the FFA to their list of contributors.
''Basically we've got an offer ready to go but until he's decided to come to Australia, once he's flagged that he wants to come to Australia, we're ready to go,'' Mariners technical director Lawrie McKinna said. ''He's away on holidays for a few days so we're piecing things together now. Once he's told his agency that his preference is to come to the A-League, we'll come in very seriously.''
The story Clubs wait for green light to throw money at Beckham first appeared on Brisbane Times.