It's official: David Beckham is on his way to Italy.
Following a week of negotiations, Italian club AC Milan announced Thursday that Beckham will join the Serie A team in a loan deal from the Los Angeles Galaxy starting on Jan. 7.
The Italian club made the announcement on its website after Beckham's lawyers arrived in Italy on Thursday to discuss the deal.
Milan did not release details on the length of Beckham's stay, but it did say the midfielder remains under contract to the Galaxy and will return to the club for training camp and the start of the 2009 Major League Soccer season.
AC Milan sporting director Umberto Gandini said the contract was open-ended but expects Beckham to return to the Galaxy after two months.
"He is committed to Los Angeles Galaxy and the MLS and he thanks them for the opportunity to train with us," said Gandini. "Only David knows his future, but he has a commitment to LA Galaxy and I think he will respect that."
The current MLS campaign ended last week, but Beckham, 33, was keen to join another club in Europe so he can remain fit for World Cup qualifying.
"What motivates any top-level footballer is the fact that playing for your national team is the greatest honour and having the potential to play in another World Cup is what every player dreams about," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told Sky Sports News. "This is what really motivates him."
English national team coach Fabio Capello has gone on record as saying he will not select players who are not active.
Capello, who dropped Beckham from the starting lineup when he coached the Englishman at Spanish club Real Madrid, approved of the move but did not say whether it would guarantee the midfielder a spot on the national team roster.
"Milan have made a good addition," Capello was quoted as saying by the Italian media.
"At Madrid I left him out of the squad because he had signed a contract with Los Angeles but he continued to come on the field and train and I put him back in the team.
"He is a very serious lad, very sensible, a professional. People think he is a playboy off the field, it's not true at all."
After the 2007 MLS season ended, Beckham trained with Arsenal but was not allowed to play for the English Premier League club.
Beckham joined the Galaxy in 2007 following a four-year stint with Spanish club Real Madrid.