By the looks of things, Liverpool are set to undergo another quiet summer in the transfer market.
The Reds’ decision not to pursue a move for Timo Werner appears to be a sign of things to come, even though there is no ruling out the prospect of the odd addition coming in.
One player who has been loosely linked with a move to Liverpool is David Alaba, who has been a stylish stalwart for Bayern Munich over the past decade, not to mention winning 72 caps for Austria.
The chances of Jurgen Klopp deciding to sign the Austrian are slim, in all honesty, given his penchant for signing young players over established stars. He turned 28 on Wednesday, making him the same age as Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, so he doesn’t represent the long-term future.
In terms of what Liverpool need, however, Alaba would be an outstanding addition to a Reds squad full of world class talent, but still missing elite depth in certain areas.
While the Bayern man will understandably never be seen as one of the outstanding footballers of his generation, few have been more versatile, consistent and intelligent over a sustained period.
In many ways, Alaba is the left-footed version of another Bayern legend, Philipp Lahm, with the German an outstanding player who could excel across several positions during his career.
While left-back has been Alaba’s go-to role for much of his playing days – many have regarded him as the best in the world in that position at different times in recent years – he has proven to be equally adept in central midfield. There are parallels with Trent Alexander-Arnold, in that respect.
This season, Alaba has been shifted to centre-back for Bayern, once again catching the eye with his performances and allowing the exciting Alphonso Davies to maraud down the left flank.
While only 5’11 tall, he has looked completely at home alongside Jerome Boateng, using his ball-playing ability and reading of play to his team’s benefit.
When you look at where Liverpool could do with additional depth moving forward, Alaba’s areas of the pitch all spring to mind immediately.
Andy Robertson’s absence through injury at Everton last weekend was felt greatly, even though James Milner and Joe Gomez both tried their best in unfamiliar positions. A lack of a natural backup left-back has been an issue for a while, and although Yasser Larouci and Adam Lewis may be exciting young options, neither can be trusted yet.
Robertson’s intense style means playing every game is almost impossible, and Alaba could be the perfect alternative, coming in and providing strong competition for the Scot. Whether or not Alaba would be happy sitting on the substitutes’ bench is up for debate, especially at his age, but the lure of playing for the world champions could eradicate that issue.
His emergence as a centre-back means he could also fill in for Van Dijk from time to time, killing two birds with one stone in the process. It would save money on bringing in somebody else, and further pave the way for Dejan Lovren’s much-needed exit.
Liverpool’s midfield is well-stocked, but Alaba would be an interesting option there, too, bringing guile and energy, as well as a rare left-footed presence in that area, and therefore more balance.
Alaba couldn’t be more suited to this stunning Reds outfit if he tried, unless he was a few years younger. He is brimming with class, know-how and experience, and on top of that, nine Bundesliga titles and a Champions League crown are proof of a player who has a winning gene flowing through his veins.
Rumour has it that Alaba may not extend his contract at Bayern this summer, and a swarm of clubs are monitoring the 28-year-old’s situation.
Should he leave the Bundesliga giants, I doubt it will be Liverpool who snap him up, with some other lucky beggars acquiring the services of a world class player. It’s frustrating, but Klopp and Michael Edwards have justified our trust in them by now.
If they were to go against their transfer policy and sign Alaba, however, it would be a move with few, if any, negatives working against it. It may even be a masterstroke.
He would be a fantastic signing who would excel under Klopp and alongside some similarly elite talents, helping perfect a squad that still has the odd flaw.