For all intents and purposes, David Alaba’s departure from Bayern Munich to join Real Madrid could’ve been prevented, but the salary demands faltered contract negotiations and he was allowed to leave on a free transfer. The financial situation at Bayern as a result of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t make matters any easier, but the club still felt, that on a principle level, Alaba’s wage demands were way too high.
Speaking on Sky90 over the weekend, former Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that he really feels Bayern should have never let Alaba go (MARCA). “Basically, I think everyone agrees that this exit shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “Don’t forget, the boy grew up at Bayern Munich. He played there for 13 years and has always been an important part of the Bayern DNA,” he continued, speaking of the Austrian’s devout, long tenure at the club. Like Thomas Muller, he worked his way through Bayern’s youth and academy teams before making his break in the senior squad, which is something that, arguably, doesn’t happen enough now.
Bayern’s front office has never shied away from their ideas opposing over-inflated transfer fees and wage structures, so it should come as no surprise that they weren’t willing to give Alaba the wage increase he was asking for. At Real Madrid, he earns roughly 12 million euros per year, which would’ve made him one of Bayern’s top earners and his agent, Pini Zahavi, wasn’t ready or willing to accept anything less. Likewise, Alaba’s father was also involved in brokering the Madrid deal and he did not want his son to accept anything less.
“Unfortunately, everything got a bit stuck at some point. Either economically or ambient-wise. That is difficult to assess now. The main thing is that, unfortunately, he is no longer there. I think that this departure at least has not been duly compensated,” Rummenigge said. Despite the club wanting to find some sort of solution, it just became clear that it wasn’t feasible at a certain point. “I think in Alaba’s case we all did everything. Unfortunately, the whole thing got stuck somewhere and he came to the conclusion that he wanted to leave the club because he obviously had a very interesting offer from Real Madrid,” he said.
Of course, Bayern now faces a similar situation with Niklas Sule, who’s contract expires next summer. He’s previously been linked with both Newcastle United and Chelsea FC, but his performances for Bayern so far this season highlight how paramount it is for them to do everything in their power to keep hold of him and get him to sign a new deal. The last thing Bayern would want is for Sule to walk on a free transfer next year, just as Alaba did, who Hansi Flick had dubbed Bayern’s “defensive chief.”