With David Alaba seemingly on his way out of Bayern after 11 glittering years in Munich, the German champions are wasting no time in finding his replacement.
Alaba’s contract negotiations with Bayern have reportedly collapsed and Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea are among the clubs chasing the versatile 28-year-old.
Following Bayern’s 3-2 defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach last Friday, Alaba was asked by German tabloid Bild about whether performances have been affected by the transfer speculation surrounding him.
“No, absolutely not,” Alaba insisted. “Personally, I don’t think things are going so badly for me this season and I haven’t changed my style of play compared with last year.
“I’ve said it many times: for me, the only thing that counts is another successful season with Bayern. We are still leading the table and I am sure that we will win the next games and, in the end, we will be top.”
Alaba has won it all at Bayern, but his time in Bavaria looks to be coming to an end.
The new Davies?
When news started to surface that Bayern Munich were close to signing Omar Richards, the question on most people’s lips was: Omar, who?
Richards is already 22 and has been at English second tier club Reading since he was 16, having been released by Fulham when he was still a left-sided forward. David Dodds, Reading’s academy coach at the time, converted him into a left-back and he’s remained there ever since.
Richards progressed under former Dutch international Jaap Stam, who handed Richards his debut at the age of 19 and a four-year contract in 2017. With that contract set to expire on June 30, Bayern have seen an opportunity to sign the rising star for free.
“Omar is a left back with a lot of quality on the ball, pace and real drive going forward – and those are attributes which every team in football is looking for in a player,” said Stam, shortly after Richards signed his Reading contract in 2017.
Alphonso Davies has become one of the best left-backs in the world since he was signed initially as Alaba’s understudy.
Born and raised in the London district of Lewisham, he’s the latest south Londoner to catch the eye of a Bundesliga club with Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Bayern’s Jamal Musiala already playing their club football in Germany.
While Richards isn’t expected to join Bayern until the summer transfer window, he has been identified as the perfect player to put pressure on Alphonso Davies, who is seen as the heir to Alaba’s throne at Bayern.
And with Davies, also plucked from relative obscurity, once also considered a back-up signing and now considered one of the best left-backs in the world, Bayern will be hoping their strategy of signing rough diamonds and moulding them into the finished article will work again.