Beckham's current manager at Real Madrid, Fabio Capello, has stated that Beckham will not play again for Real Madrid. Capello seems determined to dampen the Beckham media spotlight's effect on a team that is easily distracted. I can't imagine Beckham's ego-laden teammates are taking too kindly to this madness. Capello seems keen on getting Beckham out the door as soon as possible, indicating that a loan would be a viable option. As reported in the news:
Asked whether Beckham might leave the Bernabeu before the end of his contract, Capello insisted: 'You will have to ask Beckham that question.'
Translation: Beckham, I'm begging you to get the hell out NOW!
I think Beckham actually prefers not playing soccer at this point. He'd rather spend more time building up his marketing profile.
Perhaps it's more important to note another transfer related to the MLS--in the other direction. One of the US's most promising younger players, Clint Dempsey, is leaving the MLS to join Fulham in the Premier League. Who can blame him? If he succeeds in the Premier League, he will almost certainly raise his game, both in terms of understanding and skill.
Brazil and Italy demonstrate two extremes of soccer development. Typically, almost none of the Brazilians on the national team play club soccer in Brazil; typically, all of the Italians on the national team play in Serie A. They are the most successful teams in the World Cup. One might assume that there's no correlation between a strong domestic league and World Cup success. However, it's clear that having a critical mass of players who play regularly at the highest club level is essential. A domestic league bolsters the prospects for this critical mass, but Brazil shows it can be done through "outsourcing." Even in Brazil's case, the domestic league serves an important role, that of introducing young, talented players for the European clubs to consider.
If the US wishes to strengthen its international standing in soccer, it needs to figure out what role the MLS might offer. Will the MLS serve the role of a "farm system" for European soccer leagues? Or will the MLS ever rise to the level of a Serie A or Premier League? The outflow from the MLS, with players like Clint Dempsey leaving for Europe, reflects the former model. Does the inflow into the MLS through flashy signings like Beckham really bolster the prospects for the latter model?
I seriously doubt it.