Manchester United have made initial contact with David Alaba over a possible January move for the Bayern Munich defender.
The Austrian international is out of contract at the end of the season and can start talking to potential suitors from next month after negotiations with Die Roten broke down and are unlikely to resume. Alaba's wage demands – he wants parity with Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski's £11million a season deal – are said to have drive a wedge between club and player.
According to the Mirror, Manchester United have already made 'formal contact' with the versatile 28-year-old's representative Pini Zahavi in a bid to steal a march on their transfer rivals in what will be a competitive market.
A two-time Champions League winner who was a central cog to Bayern's 2019/20 Treble, Alaba can play anywhere across the backline and has excelled in the past 12 months at centre-back. Though the Red Devils' recent transfer policy has been to sign younger players whose value will rise, the possibility of signing a world-class defender on a free transfer, albeit on lucrative wages, is too tempting to turn down.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have won six of their last seven Premier League fixtures, but are defensively shaky and have conceded more goals than any other team in the top 10. The disastrous Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig has convinced the Norwegian boss to act.
United will, however, have their work cut out to sign Alaba. Reigning La Liga champions Real Madrid are believed to be frontrunners in the race for the Austrian's coveted signature, according to Spanish daily AS.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is resigned to losing Alaba, who joined Die Roten as a 16-year-old in 2008.
"I don't know anything about the Real Madrid rumours. He's free to speak to whoever he wants from January 1," said Rummenigge.
"Bayern did everything we could to try and reach an agreement. We had a lot of conversations, but we wanted answers from him by the end of October."
Liverpool, Chelsea, PSG and Barcelona are all thought to be monitoring the situation.
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