|By PADDY HIGGS
A-League clubs remain in the race for David Beckham's much sought-after signature, according to Football Federation Australia chief executive officer David Gallop.
Speculation over the former England captain's future intensified on Tuesday after he revealed the MLS Cup on Saturday would be his final appearance for the Los Angeles Galaxy, with clubs in England, China, South Africa, Brazil and more linked with a move.
The rumour mill kicked off in Australia last Friday, with Gallop telling Fox Sports he had had personal contact with a representative of the 37-year-old with a view to joining an A-League club.
The claim was shot down by the player soon after, but the following days added credence to Gallop's declaration and it appears the A-League remains a potential destination for the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder.
"[There's] nothing particular fresh. We've seen over the last 24 hours or so that he has finished at the Galaxy," Gallop said when asked at a press conference announcing the latest Australia squad on Thursday.
"At this stage, dialogue is still happening between some of our clubs and his camp, but the important thing about this is that a player of his status is even considering being part of our competition.
"I think it's a great time and position that the A-League's in. If it comes to pass, great. But we're not counting our chickens in relation to a contract yet."
The FFA has encouraged A-League clubs to consider a move for Beckham, aware of the impact the arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero [Sydney FC] and Emile Heskey [Newcastle Jets] have had on the profile of the competition both home and abroad.
There is talk the game's governing body may consider financial assistance for clubs putting together offers for Beckham, though Gallop said the FFA was not involved in any negotiations as yet.
The Central Coast Mariners, Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart have all declared an interest in Beckham, but Gallop was unsure if reports the latter had already tabled a deal were true.
"I haven’t been involved directly in what they might have offered or not, but certainly know that some of our clubs are very interested," he said.