David Alaba is apparently moving with star consultant Pini Zahavi into talks with the Bavarian bosses. It is about a new, big contract – or his departure from Munich.
FC Bayern owes a great deal to its former coach Louis van Gaal – despite the unpleasant end to the liaison back then. Van Gaal’s philosophy is the basis of the offensive football that the Bavarians have been offering for more than a decade.
The quirky Dutchman turned Bastian Schweinsteiger into a midfield strategist because he saw more in the player than a mischievous dribbler who could show a strong game on the wing every now and then. Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber established van Gaal among the pros, while others in the club had nowhere near the imagination that these two would later become formative figures for the Munich team.
Van Gaal used teenager Alaba as a full-back
Van Gaal’s masterpiece, however, is probably his handling of David Alaba. He was still a striker in the B youth, but then slipped one position back into midfield. Van Gaal, however, at first glance had a completely different field of action in mind. Alaba was 17 years and 232 days young when van Gaal introduced him to the first team of Bayern in a DFB Cup quarter-final match against Greuther Fürth. But not as a midfielder or in attack – but as a left-back.
Van Gaal had some resistance to break, but consistently stuck to his idea of leaving the position at the back left to a teenager who was to secure Franck Ribéry. In the close title race, in the cup and then in the Champions League.
During the legendary Friday press rounds on Säbener Straße, van Gaal was bombarded with questions about Alaba and at some point the coach had a universally suitable answer ready. “He’s a left-back, even if he doesn’t think so himself.”
Alaba’s in the inventory.
Pretty much exactly ten years ago now. After a serious injury right after his debut, the Bavarians sent the player away in the winter of 2010/11. Alaba was part of a purchase deal around Luiz Gustavo and lent to 1899 Hoffenheim.
The Hoffenheim chapter remained a short one: after five months Alaba was back in Munich and became a formative figure of the club in the years that followed.
Of the current squad, only Thomas Müller is even more successful than Alaba, who at just 27 years of age can boast eight championships, five cup victories, a triumph in the premier class and the World Cup. It is probably no exaggeration to describe the Austrian as an icon of FC Bayern.
Since the Bayern triple season in 2013 at the latest, there have been heaps of rumours about Alaba and a possible departure from Munich in every transfer period. There was always a pinch of PSG, a little Premier League and a lot of LaLiga. On Wednesday the “Bild” reported on a possible swap deal, which Alaba had rejected. According to the report, he was to become part of the negotiating mass between the Bavarians and Manchester City, then switch to the English in exchange with Leroy Sané.
Regardless of this, FC Barcelona is said to have been after Alaba for years, and it is said that there have already been concrete offers and talks with Real Madrid. At least that’s how father and advisor George Alaba always understood it, who fired up the rumours with a few cleverly placed interviews time and again. The usual haggling, especially in the months before a possible extension of the contract.
Zahavi should help
But now Alaba junior has ventured a rather unusual step, which the Bavarians will not like very much. Apparently, the player Pini Zahavi has got himself on board. The Israeli is regarded as one of the top advisors on the scene and has had his fingers in the pie with countless transfers.
Rio Ferdinand was once the most expensive defender in the world, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was transferred by the former journalist, Zahavi was responsible for Roman Abramovich’s takeover of Chelsea FC and, in the background, for the deal between Barcelona, Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain. Last summer he negotiated Robert Lewandowski’s contract extension until 2023 with the Bavarians. Since then, the Pole with an estimated annual salary of 20 million euros is said to be the record champion’s top earner.
Alaba’s contract in Munich expires in the summer of 2021, and to make the threat perfect, all sorts of rumours are now springing up again and Zahavi suddenly turns the corner as an additional player. Alaba are in a rather peculiar constellation at Bayern: before the season, they brought in Lucas Hernandez, a central defender who can also be deployed on the left-hand side of the defence. The Frenchman cost the small sum of 80 million euros and was signed by Bayern, although the player was still suffering from a serious injury at the time.