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Beckham could be alternative to Pirlo

David Beckham could be an alternative to Italy's Andrea Pirlo as a deep midfield playmaker if he completes a loan move from Los Angeles Galaxy to Milan, coach Carlo Ancelotti has said.

"David can cover all the positions in midfield," Ancelotti was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday.

"He could also play in Pirlo's position."

Chief executive Adriano Galliani said on Wednesday that Milan were in talks with the England international, who is usually a winger, over a short-term loan deal.

The arrangement would enable him to maintain his fitness and stay in contention for the England team during the US close season.

Galaxy play the final match of their Major League Soccer campaign against Dallas on Sunday and if a deal is agreed, Beckham would join Milan in January before returning to Los Angeles for the start of the new season in late March.

England coach Fabio Capello, whose side have won four out of four as they bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, has hinted he would only pick Beckham for February's proposed friendly with Spain if he was playing.

Yesterday, there were reports in the UK media that Capello played a crucial role in persuading Milan to pursue Beckham.

During the last MLS close season, Beckham trained at English Premier League club Arsenal but was overlooked by Capello. The Rossoneri are set to do like Arsenal but will add the gifted playmaker to the squad.

According to The Sun, Capello encouraged Galliani to open talks over Beckham's loan move to Milan.

"It was Capello's endorsement that convinced Milan to sign Beckham," the newspaper quotes a San Siro source as saying.

"Fabio told Galliani that Beckham is still playing well and that he would see how good he still is if he signed him.

"That was all the club needed to hear and from then on Milan focused on turning Beckham's stay into a loan."

Meanwhile, Inter president Massimo Moratti has criticised Milan's decision to sign Beckham on loan and accused Galliani of putting commercial interests first.

"The Beckham deal is part of a philosophy that Milan began when they brought in Christian Vieri, then Ronaldo and Ronaldinho," Moratti said.

"It's a road that a big club can go down and it can deliver entertainment to the public. We will have to wait until the end of the season to see which path works better."

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