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Why Barcelona didn't sign David Alaba from Bayern Munich three years ago

Apparently, salary concerns prevented the Catalans from making a move for the Austrian.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League Semifinal - Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona Photo by sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

According to a report by Mundo Deportivo (not an amazing source, so take it with a grain of salt) Barcelona tried to sign David Alaba from Bayern Munich for the 2018/2019 season, but were put off by the player’s salary demands. Apparently, Alaba’s camp demanded a number so high it would’ve made him the second highest paid player on the squad, only after Lionel Messi himself.

Of course, this report comes from a Barca-based newspaper with an inherent bias, so it’s best to treat it with some suspicion. Alaba to Barca rumors have been around ever since the Austrian made his Bayern debut, but they’ve been anything more than hearsay. Even in 2018, the year this negotiation allegedly took place, there was no concrete indication in the German media that Alaba was looking to move. Honestly, before this year, it felt like Alaba would end his career at Bayern.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Hamburger SV - Bundesliga
Disputes over salary have led to Alaba seeking a move away from Bayern this summer.
Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Regardless, if you take MD’s report at face value, the salary demands quoted are completely outrageous. €25 million a season would put Alaba somewhere around Philippe Coutinho’s current salary at Barca, or what Luis Suarez used to earn when he still played for the Catalans. That’s absolutely insane money for a defender, even one as young and versatile as Alaba.

It’s likely that, with elections coming up, the Catalan media is once again trying to drum up a frenzy over past transfer dealings to help a candidate — Joan Laporta in this case, who is heavily mentioned in the report. Apparently, Laporta is the only thing keeping Alaba from making a commitment to Real Madrid at the moment, which seems a little too fanciful to be true.

While it’s possible that the Austrian is waiting for the results of Barca’s election to see if he can get a better deal with the Catalans, it seems unlikely that we would join a club in so much financial and sporting turmoil. After all, Barca just got hammered 4-1 by PSG in the Champions League this week. They’re on a downward spiral, and will probably lose Messi in the summer. Real Madrid, Liverpool, City, PSG ... almost anywhere else would be a better destination.

What does this change for Bayern? Precious little. It’s just a little bit funny to read about Barca’s board being concerned about a player’s salary, given the outrageous spending sprees they’ve embarked on recently. Honestly, if Alaba did ask for €25 million, it was pretty good gamble — Barca are probably the only club in the world stupid enough to pay it.

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