Following David Beckham's hint that he is open to a return to the Premier League, Manchester City are set to assume pole position in the race for his signature.
The interest in the former England captain is not just about his quality on the pitch, but also in an attempt to expand City's brand and announce the club on the world stage ahead of their push for European football and silverware next season.
Goal.com now understands that a number of Serie A and Premier League clubs have already made contact with Beckham’s representatives. Though City remain front-runners for the 34-year-old's signature, the pulling power of Carlo Ancelotti, who coached Beckham briefly at AC Milan and is now in charge of Chelsea, may also play a factor.
David Pullen, brand and marketing director at Manchester City, remained tightlipped when asked how move for Beckham would develop the City brand.
However, he pointed out Mark Hughes has been working hard with the Abu Dhabi-based owners in order to secure big-name transfers.
"I cannot comment on specific players, but what I can say is that Mark Hughes has developed a positive strategy and has secured some great transfers, and is continuing his work with the owners in order to secure many more exciting signings," Pullen told Goal.com.
“The owners are working hard to increase our world-wide fan base by bringing in some world class players.
"We have a strategic plan and we want to target certain markets, first in Arabic and English and by the end of the year, in three or four other languages.”
Beckham, who is England's most capped outfield player with 112 appearances, has reiterated his desire to see out his Major League Soccer contract with Los Angeles Galaxy.
"I intend to stay until the end of my contract and maybe further," confirmed the former Real Madrid star.
"I've always said that. I've always said, even when I went to Milan.”
Tottenham Hotspur have in the past also expressed a fleeting interest in Beckham, and he has also spent a stint training with Arsenal to keep in shape for England duty during the MLS off-season.
Mohammed Bhana, Goal.com
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