Even at a well-run football club like Bayern Munich, Germany’s winning machine, it seems like certain issues are still capable of slipping through the cracks.
David Alaba has been a mainstay of the side that has just secured their eighth straight Bundesliga title. He has been there for every trophy lift along the way, picking up the Champions League and four German Cups too.
Yet as they reach the end of their campaign – the title already secured – Alaba might have to head out of the door.
David Alaba could be made available by Bayern Munich amid his contract running down
The 27-year-old could be the best defender available on the market in the upcoming window
The 27-year-old’s contract has run down to the point where he just has the one year remaining before it expires.
There is a risk that if they cannot secure him to a fresh contract, they will have to make the decision between letting him go for free next summer or selling him when the window opens.
And even a powerhouse like Bayern will be limited in terms of what they can offer him this summer, given the financial constraints caused by the coronavirus.
That means the pressure is now on to either secure a new contract for the left-back or make a decision over his future.
Alaba – who has won eight titles in a row at Bayern – sees his contract run out next summer
Having spent the last year trying to come to an agreement, they have not been able to get him to extend his deal.
Therefore, as reported by the Telegraph, they might choose to cash in during the upcoming window.
There would be a number of potential options open to Alaba, if he decides moving on at the end of the campaign suits him more than sitting out his deal.
PSG are thought to be particularly keen on him, but they also expect that there will be competition from Premier League teams.
Paris Saint-Germain are thought to be particularly keen on snapping the Austrian up
Manchester City could also move for him. They have had issues in defence, both centrally – where Alaba is comfortable – and at left-back, where Benjamin Mendy has struggled with injuries.
He would also be able to fill in in defensive midfield, which would be useful given Fernandinho’s conversion to a central defender and the upcoming departure of a more advanced option in David Silva.
It could free Ilkay Gundogan up for the more attacking position he used to play in Germany.
Liverpool – managed by Jurgen Klopp – were also thought to be a side who could move if he was made available.
Manager Pep Guardiola might view Alaba as a useful option for his Manchester City side
While Virgil van Dijk has been a rock at the back for them, he has had a number of partners throughout this campaign due to injury problems.
Klopp also knows Alaba well from his time in Germany. Chelsea were also mentioned as an option, given their hunt for a left-back.
Alaba would likely be cheaper than their first-choice option Ben Chilwell, who Leicester will not be keen to sell.
His versatility, though, will be a significant part of his appeal in a window like the upcoming one.
Teams at the top level will not have the budget to buy elite options across the park. Premier League sides face a rebate to the broadcasters that will make a significant dent in in budgets.
Jurgen Klopp knows Alaba well from his time in Germany while Borussia Dortmund boss
That is without figuring in the cost of playing behind closed doors and other difficult financial realities.
The biggest sides will be able to bring in one or two improvements but a player like Alaba who can plug a number of holes would definitely appeal. Slightly smaller squads might be the norm, and an elite level utility man fits in well there.
As to how important he is to the biggest team in his country, just ask Dietmar Hamann.
Back in March, he said: ‘If Alaba leaves, it would be a huge loss. He’s currently one of the most important players at Bayern.
‘Finding a replacement would be almost impossible with the flexibility he has.’
With debates about upping Alaba’s salary raging, Hamann made his view clear: ‘He’s one of the top five players in the team, so he has to be paid accordingly’.
It is hard to see how Bayern would go about replacing Alaba easily in the coming window
Yet he’s also aware of why the Austria international might want to move on: ‘He’s 27 years old now, so it’s probably the last chance for him to play at an absolute top level in another country.’
Alaba has been an absolute mainstay of a Bayern side that have dominated for a decade straight – barring a brief loan to Hoffenheim. In that time, he has played at least 30-plus games in eight of 10 campaigns.
There are those eight titles, that Champions League win in 2012-13 and four German Cups to his name. Take a single look at his medal haul and any team signing him know they are getting a player with a winning mentality.
The question, really, is why would Bayern want to lose him?