Beckham poised for role in the hole

MILAN - AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is considering a new attacking role for David Beckham as he awaits confirmation that the England midfielder's loan deal will be extended.

Ancelotti said on Saturday he had no news on Milan's negotiations with Los Angeles Galaxy over Beckham's future, with the original deal for the 33-year-old to play in Italy due to expire on Monday.

The coach did reveal that Beckham could be handed a new role behind the strikers in Sunday's home game with Atalanta, with Kaka, Ronaldinho and possibly Clarence Seedorf ruled out.

"The resolution of the situation will give Beckham some advantages because he cares a lot about staying at Milan and it would give him an extra stimulus to do well," Ancelotti told a news conference on Saturday.

"Seedorf had a problem yesterday. If he doesn't make it, a midfielder like (Andrea) Pirlo or Beckham would play behind the strikers."

British media reported on Friday that a deal had been done for Beckham to stay in Italy until the end of June before returning to the United States and then coming back to Milan towards the end of the year for a second spell.

There are apparently still issues to resolve, though, and Italian media speculated on Saturday that an announcement might not come until Monday.

Beckham is keen to stay with Milan to boost his chances of playing at the World Cup with England in 2010. He has become disillusioned with the standard of U.S. soccer and also the long close season break from October to March.

He has an escape clause in his $250 million Galaxy contract which would let him leave in November but it is unclear whether he would join Milan permanently then or remain on loan.

In any case, Beckham looks set to take a financial hit.

"Beckham will be giving up a mountain of money," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani told Milan Channel.

Milan tried to buy Beckham outright but could not agree a fee with Galaxy.