Minister wants Beckham at PSG
Paris - French Industry Minister Eric Besson has moved to appease critics of David Beckham's move to Paris Saint Germain saying the global football icon would pay 50 percent of his salary to the tax man.
Reports that former England midfielder Beckham is set to join the French league leaders have intensified in recent days, with claims he had finally agreed on a lucrative €5 million deal and would sign for the club in early January.
While widely welcomed, the news has also prompted criticism at Beckham's proposed monthly salary of €800 000.
Besson, however, played down the concerns.
"I can understand it (the amount of his salary) could cause upset and shock," Besson said on the fringes of a visit to a French commerce website on Thursday.
But "if he comes to France, Beckham will pay around 50 percent in tax in France.
"Would it be better for him to pay it in (tax) London rather than Paris? Personally, I'd prefer if he paid it in Paris."
While newspapers around the capital on Wednesday trumpeted Beckham's imminent arrival, a spokesperson for Beckham - whose main aim next year is to play for the Great Britain team at the London Olympics - denied a deal had been done.
"No agreement with any football club has been reached. Any talk of a deal is premature. David is presently considering his options," the spokesperson told AFP.
However that has not stood in the way of a media frenzy which has focused mainly on what Beckham's arrival could do for the image of French football, and for the country as a whole, instead of what he could contribute as a player.
Leading economists suggested on Wednesday that Beckham's monthly salary would easily be justified by the many commercial spin-offs, such as increased shirt sales, his arrival would generate.
Purchased by wealthy investors Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) in the summer, PSG's new owners have pledged to "make the club a great team and a strong brand on the international scene."
Besson added: "Let's face facts. David Beckham for Qatar and for Paris Saint Germain represents an investment, although it will be several weeks or months before we know whether it is viable.
"It's possible that in six or eight months everyone will be saying that David Beckham has, for PSG and French football, been a sound investment."
The 36-year-old Beckham's contract with Los Angeles Galaxy expires at the end of December.
Although in the twilight of his career at nearly 37, Beckham is formidably fit and he can call on years of valuable Champions League experience with former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid.
PSG took over the lead of the French top flight on Wednesday, however sources told AFP on Thursday that manager Antoine Kombouare has been informed that he has been fired.
An official announcement was expected to be made later in the day.