Could Real Madrid Take A $132 Million Risk?

Since Jan. 1, 2021, Bayern Munich star David Alaba is free to negotiate with other clubs. The 28-year-old Austrian center-back will be a free agent on Jul. 1 2021 but there is no doubt that the Austrian will have found a new club at that point. The current favorites? Real Madrid. 

Real Madrid head coach Zinédine Zidane has been a big fan of Alaba for some time. Zidane and Alaba were also in contact with one another after Bayern Munich opted to withdrew their latest contract offer. 

“The stance of the club is clear,” incoming Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn said in an interview with the German paper Sport Bild. “We have rolled out the red carpet for David Alaba and have gone to our limits. David and especially his agent Pini Zahavi did not go over this red carpet. So, we rolled it up again at some point.” 

Allegedly, Bayern has been in a long-lasting conflict with super-agent Zahavi. There has been suggestions that some of that animosity dates back to Bayern’s refusal to allow Lewandowski, who is also represented by Zahavi, to leave the club and potentially join Real Madrid back in 2018. That refusal worked out for both sides as Lewandowski has developed into the world’s best player at Bayern and the club won the Champions League with the striker in August. 

Nonetheless, the relationship between Bayern and Zahavi was considered difficult ahead of the Alaba negotiations. But Bayern’s refusal to meet Zahavi’s demands for a new Alaba contract—$22 million a season over five years, plus an agent fee in the region of $22-27.5 million—has seen the relationship go sour. 

“We tried everything to convince David to extend with FC Bayern,” Kahn said to Sport Bild. “Of course, it hurts to lose him, not only economically. They were corona limits. When advisors don’t want to admit that we are in a time that is very difficult for all of football and can become very existential, then such a situation arises.” 

Bayern, however, has always been clear that they are keeping the door open for Alaba to approach the club and re-start negotiations. Internally, there has always been a sense that Alaba would find it difficult to find a club that could meet the demands set out by him and his agency. 

And indeed reports that Real Madrid is close to completing a deal are very premature. Los Blancos would love to add Alaba, who would become the most valuable free agent in the history of the game to move clubs to their squad next season. 

Real, like any club on the planet, has also been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed as reporter Kerry Hau reported on Monday, Real has long worked on decreasing the club’s salary, which is why Los Blancos unloaded both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. 

The Spaniards also have been leading difficult negotiations with club legend Sergio Ramos. Alaba would take the captain’s position should Real agree on terms with the Austrian. But at the moment an agreement between both sides is anything but agreed. 

Manuel Veth is the editor-in-chief of the Futbolgrad Network and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth

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