David Alaba, who has an agreement to join Real Madrid on a free transfer in the summer, will no doubt be a key signing for Los Blancos, but it remains to be seen exactly where he will be used by Zinedine Zidane as the Austrian is adept in several positions.
Alaba can play left-back, centre-back or defensive midfield with aplomb, three areas where Real Madrid have looked weak when missing their main man.
Alaba as a left-back
Marcelo has made history as Real Madrid‘s left-back and has owned the position for years now, but by next season he will be 33 years old and his best days are already behind him.
Alaba offers more assurances than Ferland Mendy, particularly going forward, where the Frenchman’s contribution of one goal and two assists falls short of what Real Madrid want from a full-back.
Alaba as a centre-back
With Sergio Ramos‘ future still uncertain, Alaba might be seen as a high-quality replacement for the Spaniard who could slot right in beside Raphael Varane in what could be as seamless a transition as could reasonably be expected.
Of Alaba‘s 24 games for Bayern this season, 21 have been at centre-back, so the role is nothing new to him and, while Zidane will want to retain Ramos, it’s not a bad insurance policy to have.
If Sergio Ramos does sign a new contract, then Alaba could go up against Varane to partner the captain at the back.
Zidane is known to be a big fan of Varane, however, and it would be a surprise to see Alaba take his place instead of Marcelo‘s if the rest of the squad remains unchanged.
Alaba as a defensive midfielder
Casemiro has made the No.6 role his own since 2015 and there is no indication that Alaba‘s arrival is a threat to him, but it gives them another option, something needed since Marcos Llorente‘s departure.
Alaba‘s midfield experience has been mainly with the Austrian national team, where he can be more influential in a side not blessed with the talent of Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.
It will be interesting to see what plan Zidane has for Alaba, a player who gives him solutions to several problems.