REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: Alaba lined up if Ramos goes, but doubts over wages

Although David Alaba is set to be available on a free in the summer, the Bayern Munich man is seeking a five-year contract worth over 100m euros.

Real Madrid: Alaba lined up if Ramos goes, but doubts over wage cost
David Ramos - FIFA FIFA via Getty Images

As Real Madrid’s contract talks with Sergio Ramos drag on, Los Blancos are making sure they're prepared if they're finally unable to reach an agreement to renew the club captain’s deal, which expires at the end of the season. They are considering several candidates to fill the huge void that would be left by Ramos, who has established himself as a club legend during a 16-year career at the Bernabéu. Of all the players on the LaLiga giants’ list of potential purchases, one is of particular interest to club chiefs: David Alaba.

Alaba: plenty of pedigree and set to be available on a free

It’s not surprising, as not only does Alaba’s sporting CV have everything Madrid would be looking for - he has been a fixture for fellow European powerhouse Bayern Munich for several years now, and has won every piece of club silverware possible - but the Austrian is also set to be out of contract this summer. Given the drop in revenue Madrid have suffered as a result of the covid-19 pandemic (they have forecast losses of 91m euros in their 2020/21 budget, a situation they are attempting to alleviate by agreeing wage cuts in their football and basketball squads), his availability on a free makes him an enticing target.

Alaba wages would cost 110m euros over five-year contract

Alaba, 28, has refused to sign a new contract at Bayern, where he has been in the first team for a decade - a move which will leave him in a position to pocket a larger signing-on fee and weekly wage at his next club. Real Madrid, who know they face competition for the defender’s signature - most notably from Premier League club Manchester City - are ready to hand him a salary of 11m euros after tax per year (22m gross).

According to reports in ESPN and the Telegraph on Sunday, Alaba has told Chelsea, another club eyeing a move for his services, that he is looking for a five-year contract. He has also made the same demand in discussions with Madrid, meaning the 13-time European champions would be committing to a 110m-euro salary outlay; given his age, there are question marks over the wisdom of such a move.

Madrid are extremely keen on Alaba, not least because of his versatility: he can operate at centre-back, left-back and even in central midfield, making him a player who, in one fell swoop, would strengthen several positions at a club that has suffered a spate of absences through injury and illness this season. Indeed, Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane had only 13 first-team players available for the LaLiga win over Getafe last week, forcing the Frenchman to add five ‘B’-team youngsters to his matchday squad.

However, Alaba would be 34 at the end of a five-year contract, leading to doubts over his ability to justify a nine-figure wage investment for the duration of his deal (in addition to a signing-on fee and the commission charged by his agent, Pini Zahavi, who earned 10.7m euros for his part in Neymar’s 2017 switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain). The defender has also suffered a not insignificant number of injuries at Bayern: as many as 32, albeit most have been minor muscle issues from which he has recovered quickly.

Key role in Bayern Munich's six-trophy haul

Capped 76 times by Austria, Alaba is at the peak of his career right now. Under Bayern boss Hansi Flick, he has just won his first ever six-trophy haul - which includes his second Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble - and has been a key figure for Flick, thanks in no small part to his ability to play in a range of positions. Although he is mostly playing at centre-back, he has also been used at left-back and was fielded at anchorman in Thursday’s Club World Cup final win over Tigres.

In total, he has played 2,388 minutes across 28 appearances for Bayern this term, missing just three games and only once being unavailable through injury (a muscle problem that ruled him out of the German champions’ Bundesliga week-one clash with Schalke 04). He was rested for one of the other two games and missed the third because he had been called up by the Austrian national team, in which he is one of the captains and tends to play in midfield.

Alaba has scored two goals in the Bundesliga this season. In defence, he was won back possession 110 times, made 38 clearances and won 44 duels - figures that allow him to negotiate his next contract from an advantageous position. When it comes to his future beyond the summer, he appears to be spoilt for choice - and wants his final decision to be the best one possible both in sporting and financial terms.