David Beckham is meeting with Qatari investors for his MLS project; Chelsea eyes Antonio Conte as its next manager; Is China coming for Vancouver's Darren Mattocks? Read Grant Wahl's insider notes.
There has been movement recently involving David Beckham’s Miami MLS team. I’m told that Beckham’s reps have been meeting in recent days with Qatar Sports Investments, which owns PSG, and the Qataris are the most likely group to take over majority ownership of the team, which is at least a 35% stake per MLS rules.
Still, this is not a done deal yet, and the Qataris have yet to sign anything. As with all new investment groups, the MLS owners would have to approve the Miami owner with a two-thirds majority.
The MLS owners meet in mid-March, but they could approve it even sooner since they don’t need to be in the same place for that vote.
Here are a couple of more insider notes from around world soccer:
Chelsea eyeing Conte for managerial gig
A source well-connected at Chelsea tells me he thinks the most likely manager for the club next season is Italian national team coach Antonio Conte. Chelsea would have to wait for Conte until after Euro 2016 in a situation similar to Louis van Gaal’s timing for joining Manchester United after the last World Cup. But I’m told Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is a big fan of Conte and is willing to wait—and that Chelsea officials have already met twice with Conte, including once in Miami.
Meanwhile, a source close to José Mourinho tells me it is likely that Mourinho will take over at Manchester United for next season. It’s the only job that Mourinho wants, and as a result United does not feel pressured to make a move right now.
Martins to China; Mattocks next?
The Chinese Super League has made a big splash in the transfer market, and now that influence is extending to MLS. As soon as Thursday, look for an official announcement that Seattle is selling Obafemi Martins to Shanghai Shenhua for a $2 million transfer fee. Martins is flying to Asia on Tuesday in advance of the deal being finalized, and it’s coinciding with the departure from Shanghai of former MLS’er Tim Cahill.
Martins isn’t the only MLS player being targeted by China. So is Vancouver forward Darren Mattocks, though it’s not certain that deal will go through. A source at MLS headquarters said the league isn’t seriously concerned about China as a threat, citing China’s huge transfer fees and saying that they don’t think MLS and China are generally competing for the same players. The Chinese transfer deadline is February 26.