Having presided over Bayern Munich for three seasons, it seemed like only a matter of time before Pep Guardiola looked to FC Hollywood’s cast to plug holes discovered in his Manchester City squad.
With the obligatory first transfer window’s grace safely passed (where a new manager usually follows the gentlemanly code of resisting an immediate raid on former stocks) that looks to be exactly what City’s manager is now plotting.
The Guardian and The Sun among others suggest Guardiola is hatching a plan to go back to Bayern for David Alaba, the Austrian with many a string to his football bow.
A rumoured bid of £40m is being ‘prepared’ for Alaba’s services according to red-top and broadsheet alike; the left-back whose malleability has been exploited to great effect in his time with the Bundesliga giants.
In the same way Guardiola recognised that Philip Lahm’s generous football brain could be better served in a midfield role, Alaba became the Spaniard’s next full-back conversion project and proved just as adept as Germany’s former captain at switching positions.
Given that City’s defensive flanks are an obvious area of weakness flagged up in the early stages of the season, and defensive midfield is hardly oversubscribed with world-class options, Alaba appears the perfect fit.
Out wide, age is the former Barcelona head honcho’s primary concern. All of Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Alexsandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta are at least 30.
At 24 Austria’s skipper, who operates predominantly as a number 10 for his country, still has prime years ahead of him.
A dearth in quality is the burning issue in central midfield meanwhile. Fernandinho has been a fine City servant in a defensive role, yet is often pinched to play at centre-half these days and the calibre of his principle understudy Fernando is questionable.
Next summer is the earmarked point of attack from the Premier League club’s perspective.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing