In recent weeks, Bayern Munich fans have been bombarded with a slew of reports that David Alaba is set to join Real Madrid. While the Spanish giants have been a rumored destination for the Austrian for some time now, it’s hard to tell how plausible these rumors are since we’re not exactly experts on Madrid’s squad planning or their transfer situation.
So to help us out, we got in touch with Om Arvind from our sister site Managing Madrid to answer a few questions for us. Here’s what he had to say on the Alaba saga at the moment:
Does Real Madrid really need David Alaba right now? Where and how would he play, assuming Sergio Ramos stays?
Depends on what you mean by “need.” Technically, all of the relevant positions — LB, CB, DM — have starters. But Real Madrid currently lack immediate depth at left back (Marcelo looks finished at this level) and have been worrying about how to replace the aging Sergio Ramos for some time now. We’ve seen what Madrid have looked like without their captain in key matches and it hasn’t been pretty. Beyond just missing his organization and defensive skills, Real look much weaker against the press without his world class ball progression abilities (he’s currently peaking in long ball percentage and progressive passes p90 in La Liga per fbref).
Nacho has experienced a renaissance of late but will never be the long-term starting option and Éder Militão still appears to be quite green. As far as I can figure, the idea seems to be for Alaba to be a secure backup option in two defensive positions before transitioning into the starting LCB role. I am not sure whether Alaba would be comfortable with this, but I think he would immediately make the team better while allowing Madridistas to breathe easier whenever Ramos is suspended/injured or eventually leaves.