David Alaba is a serial winner

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David Alaba is a serial winner and a cool customer in four different positions who has been integral to Bayern Munich’s dominance… so it’s little wonder Europe’s elite clubs are jostling to sign Austrian star on a FREE after contract talks broke down
Chelsea, PSG and Juventus are among several top clubs linked with David Alaba
Austrian defender is out of contract at Bayern Munich at the end of the season
World class player could be available for nothing after contract talks broke down
Bayern withdrew their offer of a new deal after Alaba’s camp opted to reject it
Alaba is capable of playing in four different positions in defence and midfield
He’s a proven winner with nine Bundesliga titles and two Champions Leagues

To the outside world, everything at Bayern Munich always appears so serene.

They are a slick operation, devoted entirely to the relentless and apparently never boring business of winning. Top of the Bundesliga, into the Champions League last-16 with two games to spare, winning another Treble, that kind of thing.

Which makes the rift that has opened between the club and one of their best players of the past decade, David Alaba, all the more surprising.

The Austrian defender, widely considered one of the best in the world, isn’t a player Bayern would ideally want to lose when his contract runs out next summer.

But barring a late change of heart from the Bavarian club, that’s exactly what will happen after negotiations over a contract renewal broke down over the usual sticking point of remuneration.

According to reports in Sport Bild a couple of months ago, Bayern were prepared to offer Alaba a base salary of around £9.9million with bonuses of a further £5.4m.

But Kicker magazine reported that Alaba and his agent Pini Zahavi were pushing for £22.5m a season over five years.

The club believed their offer to be fair. They wanted to have some clarity on Alaba’s intentions by the end of October without issuing an ultimatum but when they chased it up, the answer came back that their proposal was unsatisfactory.

So Bayern, who have always been careful with their finances and subscribe to the belief that no player is bigger than the club, withdrew their offer from the table. Alaba will be departing as things stand.

It will come as no surprise to anybody that Alaba is now being linked with Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. In other words, the usual suspects.

And why not? Here is a once in a blue moon opportunity to buy a genuinely world class defender who is in his prime at the age of 28 and will be available for a fee significantly below his true market value. And if he stays at Bayern until the summer, potentially for no money at all.

They may well believe at Bayern, the reigning European champions, that any move away is a downward one but the Austrian will end up at a team of high calibre – and will improve them.

His pedigree is second to none. Just look at the honours on his CV – nine Bundesliga titles, six German Cup wins and two Champions League triumphs.

Alaba is a proven winner, having been a central pillar in a decade of Bayern dominance under Jupp Heynckes (twice), Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, Niko Kovac and Hansi Flick.

All wouldn’t have a bad word to say about Alaba, who is a manager’s dream in that he can play comfortably in four different positions. This unique versatility is certainly appealing to any suitor.

He started out as a midfielder but was converted into a left back by Louis van Gaal as he broke into the Bayern team in 2010. ‘He is a left-back, even if he doesn’t know it himself,’ said the Dutch manager at the time.

Van Gaal was right, Alaba soon established himself as one of the best left backs in the world.

A defensive injury crisis during the 2015-16 saw Guardiola shift Alaba to centre-half and, guess what, he looked right at home there as well.

Since the emergence of the brilliant 20-year-old Alphonso Davies, who became Bayern’s first-choice left back last season, Alaba is very much playing in the middle.

Yet for his country Austria, whom he helped qualify for Euro 2020 next year, he is usually deployed on the left of midfield. It probably makes a nice change for him.

Whatever the position, Alaba’s athleticism, positional intelligence and assuredness in possession mean he can always be trusted to do the job required. He rarely puts a foot wrong and that shows in the longevity of 400 games for Bayern.

He has also embraced the responsibility of mentoring Davies on and off the field, calmly shouting instructions – in English – to the Canadian when he strays out of position.

Indeed, the Bundesliga’s empty, echoing stadiums amid the Covid-19 pandemic have only highlighted Alaba’s leadership on the field.

His versatility and myriad qualities aside, Alaba’s appeal also extends to the commercial aspects so important in big name signings.

He’s a very cool customer, as his Instagram feed shows, with a clear love of designer clothes. He even paid a visit to Milan Fashion Week earlier this year.

So there’s so much that appeals about Alaba. Bayern’s loss will be the gain of one of their European rivals.

But the German champions don’t believe in astronomical salaries for the sake of it and though it will be a tricky task to replace Alaba, they’ll move on and remain successful.

Now the scramble for Alaba begins and it will be fascinating to see his next move.

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