The £30m transfer tag may not match the bank-busting buys of Zidane or Figo but the much-hyped saga of David Beckham’s Old Trafford exit is set to be the biggest soccer switch of all time.
It will be the biggest deal in football history. Not necessarily in terms of wages – although it will come close in that sphere as well – but in sheer size and complexity and the number of spin-off sponsorship agreements it covers.
It is no longer the simple transfer of a registration from one club to another but a cats-cradle of red-tape that tangles up global corporate marketing strategies for some of the planet’s best known multi-national brands, image rights in a proliferation of new media, conflicting personal and club sponsorship deals and even the possibility of Posh getting her own cable TV show.
The deal will have a global knock on effect as this highly prized asset, worth over £100m in lucrative endorsements and marketing, is auctioned off.
Beckham is now a worldwide pocket money vacuum cleaner, dealing not just in replica shirts and boots and mundane football products but also pencil cases and pyjamas from Penang to Perth and more pricey mobile phones and computers from Torquay to Tokyo.
He has a £1m-a-year global deal with Pepsi – and stars in the commercials alongside Real Madrid players – and a European one just as profitable with Vodaphone.
He has his own range of kiddies clothing and a his and hers Posh and Becks range of scents and aftershaves will be on the shelves for Christmas. The footballing fashionista with his ever changing hair, ghetto clothes, tattoos, rap affectations and his “beautiful pop star wife” (© all tabloid papers) is an unstoppable juggernaut.
The England captain has been transformed from a mere player who can whip in a good cross from the right and is handy with free-kicks into a multi-faceted social and cultural phenomenon that transcends the game.
He is red hot property, even in Hollywood where they know little of English soccerball.