It’s no secret that there are a handful of clubs across Europe that have expressed keen interest in signing David Alaba given his contract situation at Bayern Munich. At this current juncture, Real Madrid look the most likely to sign the Austrian international, but Liverpool were one of the other big clubs that made their interest clear given their current defensive injury crisis. Not to mention, with Jurgen Klopp’s time in the Bundesliga managing both Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund, Alaba is a player he faced a handful of times before he took his sabbatical after the 2014/2015 Bundesliga season.
Per a new report from The Independent, though, it was suggested that Liverpool were ultimately put off by Alaba’s height, in addition to his high salary demands. In comparison to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip, Alaba is at least 8 centimeters shorter than any of them, standing at 1.8 meters tall. Matip is 1.95 meters tall, van Dijk is 1.93, and Gomez is 1.88. Of course, the trio of center backs are all out with injuries for Liverpool at the moment, with both van Dijk and Gomez both having lengthy layovers due to knee injuries.
Klopp has resorted to using Fabinho as a mainstay center back and has rotated between Matip, Nathaniel Phillips, Rhys Williams, and even Jordan Henderson at the other center back spot. It’s Liverpool’s feeling that Alaba might not be able to satisfy their aerial presence requirements for the style of football they play that’s pressing from the front centric, leaving a lot of opportunities for long, high balls over the top from their opponents on the counter attacks.
It was also reported that Liverpool were closely monitoring Alaba’s contract situation during the finalization of the signing of Thiago Alcantara, but, like Bayern, didn’t necessarily agree with Pini Zahavi’s valuation of his client. With his current demands, he’d be earning roughly €13 million per year and it’s understood that Liverpool used that valuation to compare it to what the wound up paying to sign Thiago, which is very similar to Alaba’s demands. They wound up signing him from Bayern for €30m and then also brought in Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers for around €50m. Essentially, because of the similar contract situations between Thiago and Alaba, Liverpool weighed both options to ultimately see how much they could get Thiago for.
Liverpool also wound up signing Kostas Tsimkas from Olympiacos for roughly €13m. He primarily plays as a left back and was purchased to be a backup for Andrew Robertson. From Liverpool’s perspective, that was a more feasible approach than a player like Alaba, who’s almost 30-years-old and who’s preference is not to play as a center back, but rather a left back or central midfielder.
Per The Athletic, Zahavi and Alaba are very relaxed over the whole situation because they still feel that Alaba is highly marketable in the Premier League given his age (28) and positional versatility. Real Madrid’s pursuit of Alaba still has a lot to do with Sergio Ramos’ contract renewal negotiations and wage cuts that the rest of the squad would have to agree to and Barcelona’s pursuit is complicated by the club’s upcoming presidential elections — to new president would have to approve of a potential transfer. Because of this, the Premier League very well might have to be Alaba’s landing place if he doesn’t wind up going back to the negotiating table with Bayern.