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Beckham dismayed by Barca offer

Beckham
Beckham: "I've never said that I'd never move."

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LONDON, England -- Manchester United have accepted a bid for England captain David Beckham from Spanish club Barcelona.

But the 28-year-old, one of soccer's most marketable players, has indicated he will reject the deal with his advisers saying he is being used as a "pawn."

The offer is subject to a number of conditions including personal terms and Joan Laporta being elected president of Barcelona, the team's Web site said Tuesday. The election is on June 15.

The site said Tuesday: "Manchester United confirms that club officials have met Joan Laporta, the leading candidate for the Presidency of Barcelona. These meetings have resulted in an offer being made for the transfer of David Beckham to Barcelona."

But a spokesman for Beckham's management company, SFX, said: "David is very disappointed and surprised to learn of this statement and feels that he has been used as a political pawn in the Barcelona presidential elections.

"David's advisers have no plans to meet Mr. Laporta or his representatives."

The Barcelona bid team remained confident, however.

"Once we start talking with him, I feel that there won't be any problems," said Sandro Rosell, chief negotiator for Laporta.

Beckham heard of the deal while on holiday in Los Angeles with his pop star wife, Victoria, formerly of the Spice Girls.

The bid may be unattractive in part because Barcelona are not in the top-flight Champions League next season. Also Real Madrid and Italian giants Inter Milan are reported to be interested in the 30 million ($50 million)-rated star.

Earlier Tuesday, Beckham increased frenzied speculation over a transfer by saying he may not stay at Manchester United.

He told The Los Angeles Times: "I'm a Man United player. I'm contracted to Man United for another two or three years, I think. As long as they want me, then I'll stay.

"But I've never said that I'd never move away from Manchester, and I've never said that I'd end my career there.

"There will always be changes at a team like Man United, with all the big teams there's always going to be changes -- because you look to strengthen the team whether you win three trophies or you win one."

The pin-up player is a massive marketing pull in most of the world but remains a virtual stranger in America.

The transfer rumors have dominated the sports pages of the English press with journalists saying the English champions are keen to cash in on their biggest asset before his contract expires.


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