David Alaba has agreed to join Real Madrid on a five-year deal from this summer, according to Sky Sports. Alaba announced in February that he would be leaving Bayern Munich at the end of the season, ending a 13-year stay with the German club. Real Madrid are renowned for splashing huge sums of cash on high profile players, but this signing may suggest a desire to go about their business in a slightly different manner. David Alaba to Real Madrid is very much on.
President Florentino Perez, speaking before the fallout of the European Super League, revealed that Real Madrid are £900 million in debt. They didn’t sign a single player over the last two transfer windows and may be looking for more bargains this summer.
David Alaba to Real Madrid: How He Will Fit in
A Natural in Several Positions
Alaba is a manager’s dream, as he is a natural in several positions. Throughout the majority of his career, he has featured as a conventional left-back for Bayern. Following the emergence of Alphonso Davies, Hansi Flick shifted Alaba to centre-back, fitting in seamlessly in the process. Wanting to use his ability more effectively, he has often played further forward for Austria, often as a central midfielder, and more recently on the left-wing.
Alaba may be considered as a replacement at centre-back for Zinedine Zidane. The ageing Sergio Ramos is out of contract in the summer, with Florentino Perez admitting Madrid may not be able to afford his demands. Additionally, Raphael Varane’s deal expires next summer.
Ferland Mendy has impressed at left-back this season, arguably becoming an irreplaceable member of the side. Therefore, it is unlikely that Zidane will look to play Alaba here, especially when he has Marcelo as a more than adequate backup. Instead, Zidane might look to increase his central-midfield options in Alaba.
Despite playing with three central midfielders, Zidane only has four recognised players to fill these places. Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Federico Valverde are all proven, world-class players. Considering likely injuries, and the fact that Modric and Kroos are both on the wrong side of 30, Alaba may be asked to fill in at central midfield when required.
David Alaba to Real Madrid: Will He Fit Zidane’s Tactics?
One of Alaba’s biggest strengths is his passing, and his ability to hold onto the ball. This is something seen frequently with Real Madrid; the midfield three are excellent at keeping the ball between them, effortlessly able to control the game. Alaba should fit in well with this system, whether playing as a CB or a CM, as it would suit his natural desire to play key passes.
Alaba is used to playing a very high line with Bayern, often leaving them vulnerable to balls over the top. The reason they get away with this is simple; Manuel Neuer. Alaba has become accustomed to having the player who defined the sweeper-keeper role behind him. It may take some time for Alaba to develop chemistry with Courtois, who is not quite as confident in coming off his line.
That being said, Real Madrid don’t play a defensive line as high as Bayern’s. Zidane places a lot of emphasis on keeping shape when defending, which should suit Alaba, as he tends not to dive into tackles. Furthermore, he is blessed with great pace, especially for a defender. This could prove crucial in regaining defensive shape and countering the effect of pacey, skilful attackers, which are seen aplenty in La Liga.
Reviewing His Bayern Career
It feels as though Alaba has been around for ages, and while this is true, unbelievably he is still only 28. He joined Bayern Munich as a 16-year-old, making his debut in the 2009/10 season. He became a first-team regular in the 2011/12 season, racking up over 400 appearances since. Looking at Ramos’s longevity at Madrid, Alaba may still be around for a while longer.
Alaba has enjoyed tremendous success during his time in Bavaria. He has lifted 26 trophies, including nine Bundesligas, and two Champions Leagues. Speaking to Sky Germany, his teammate Joshua Kimmich said: “He has won everything here, even multiple times. There aren’t many steps you can take after playing for Bayern but Real Madrid isn’t that bad as the next step.”
Kimmich all but confirmed Alaba’s future here. Having enjoyed unparalleled success in Munich, it is understandable that he might fancy a new challenge. Just one win stands before Alaba and Bayern Munich winning their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title. After that, David Alaba will move to Real Madrid with hopes of another trophy-laden spell.
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