Bayern Munich star David Alaba reportedly has no interest in leaving the club for Real Madrid during the summer and would prefer a move to Barcelona if he did. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur are said to be keeping an eye on Douglas Costa.
According to Catalan outlet Diario Gol (h/t the Daily Express' Jack Otway), Real president Florentino Perez tried to take advantage of the meeting between the two teams in the UEFA Champions League to open negotiations for Alaba. However, Bayern made it clear the Austrian will not be sold.
The report explained both Liga giants could be in the market for another left-back, with Real needing depth if Fabio Coentrao leaves and Jordi Alba's future unsure at Barcelona.
Alaba had a nightmare outing in Madrid on Tuesday, with sports writer Muhammad Butt summing his performance up like this:
The 24-year-old has long been regarded among the world's best left-backs but has regressed tremendously since the departure of former manager Pep Guardiola for Manchester City last summer. Alaba remains a special talent, but the timing of this report is curious at best.
While the Austria international struggled on Tuesday, counterpart Marcelo was brilliant for Real. The Brazilian played one of the best matches of his career and rightly drew widespread praise.
Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report named Marcelo man of the match, which was quite the achievement given the circumstances:
Like Alaba, Marcelo is frequently mentioned among the top left-backs in the world. It would make no sense for Real to throw top money at the former while the latter is on the books or for Alaba to join knowing he won't be an automatic starter.
A move to Barcelona would be more realistic, but Alaba is widely expected to stay in Bavaria for the foreseeable future.
One player who could leave the Allianz Arena is Costa, and Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror reports Spurs are keeping a close eye on the Brazilian's situation, with a £30 million move potentially on the horizon.
The 26-year-old told reporters his representatives have already been in contact with other clubs (via Lewis):
I cannot comment on names, there are contacts with teams from England, Spain and also France. But we respect Bayern.
First we want to get together with them and look at what they think of it, and then we make a decision.
I am still under contract with FC Bayern until 2020, I have three more years. Of course, football is a business, Bayern simply has to accept a bid and the others pay what they have to pay.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti hasn't used the winger that often, and club president Uli Hoeness has suggested the former Shakhtar Donetsk man is angling for a new and improved contract.
If Costa does end up leaving the Allianz Arena, one has to assume the star winger would set his sights even higher than Spurs. He's mostly impressed with Bayern and would be a regular starter for most top clubs across the continent.