Reports: Barcelona target summer move for Bundesliga record holder
What's the story?
The January transfer window may have come to an end, but that hasn't stopped clubs from planning for the future. Barcelona are eyeing up a summer move for Bayern Munich's David Alaba, according to a report in Spanish news outlet AS. The Blaugrana are reportedly long-term admirers of the defender, who holds the record of being the youngest player to ever play for Austria and for Bayern in the UEFA Champions League.
Obstacles to the move happening in the summer remain, as Alaba has a long-term contract with Bayern Munich. In addition, Barcelona will have to offload one of Lucas Digne and Thomas Vermaelen - since Alaba may be brought in to operate in a central role, since Jordi Alba is currently excelling in the left-back role.
In case you didn't know...
David Alaba joined Austria Wien at the age of 10 in 2002, and came through the youth setups quickly, making the bench of the first team at the age of 15. After impressing with the reserves, Bayern Munich swooped in to sign the youngster in 2008 for €150,000. After a couple of impressive seasons with the youth team, Alaba was fast-tracked into the senior side and made his debut in 2010, at the age of 17, setting a record for the youngest player to ever appear for the Bavarian giants.
The heart of the matter
Jupp Heynckes was in charge in Alaba's breakout season, with the Austrian making 47 appearances for Bayern in 2012/13. Having become a stalwart of the side under Heynckes, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, it was no surprise to see the Bundesliga giants tie him down to a 5-year deal in 2016.
The report in AS claims that Barcelona's transfer budget will be stretched if a proposed move for Antoine Griezmann materializes, with technical director Robert Fernandez apparently asking President Josep Bartomeu to raise funds for a potential bid for Alaba. Despite Barcelona's excellent form this season, their squad options remain thin although Alaba could comfortably expect to be first-choice.
AS isn't as speculative as the rest of the Spanish media outlets, so perhaps there is some truth to their sources within Barcelona hinting at a move for David Alaba. However, given that Bayern Munich would be loathe to losing one of their best players - coupled with Alaba being quite settled in Munich, the likelihood of this move seeing the light of day remains remote.
David Alaba is one of the best defenders in the world and Pep Guardiola's description of him as 'God' points to his quality. Barcelona would in all likelihood have to make him the most expensive defender of all time to bring him in - and given they already are well stocked in their first-choice positions, this seems wishful thinking, at best.