Liverpool have been the victims of a well-documented defensive injury crisis this term, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffering serious knee problems that look to keep them out for the majority (if not all) of the 2020/21 season.
Joel Matip has also struggled with fitness this season, resulting in makeshift centre half Fabinho filling in at the heart of the Liverpool defence for large parts of the campaign. Despite this, Jurgen Klopp has suggested that the club will not be looking to strengthen at centre half in January.
However, that has not stopped Bayern Munich’s David Alaba from being linked with a move to Anfield, with his contract at the Allianz Arena poised to expire in the summer.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed that the club attempted to tie the versatile defender down to a new deal, but he turned down the offer. Alaba is now able to open talks with other clubs and sign a pre-contract elsewhere ahead of a free transfer in the summer.
According to the Independent’s Melissa Reddy, Liverpool did hold talks with Alaba’s representatives last year, but this was partly to gage his current personal terms and valuation in order to help them to draft a proposal to bring Bayern teammate Thiago to Anfield due to the pair’s similar circumstances. Sneaky.
However, a move for Alaba is now a ‘hard no’ for the Reds for a selection of reasons. When the club enter the market for a centre half, they are to do so with the intention of the player being a long-term replacement for Joel Matip. Alaba turns 29 in June, so does not fit the profile of a long-term replacement.
Although Liverpool do value the Austrian international’s versatility and undoubted ability, they also considered him too small and not strong enough in the air to fit their central defensive requirements.
The arrival of Kostas Tsimikas is the summer has also dashed the appeal of signing Alaba, as cover for Andy Robertson at left back is now less of a priority.