Barcelona are said to have pulled the plug on signing David Alaba on a free transfer next summer, since they are unable to meet the Austria defender's sky-high salary demands.
Alaba was a player in demand even before Bayern director Hasan Salihamidzic publicly conceded he will leave the club when his contract expires next summer. There are few players on the planet who can match his versatility, while at 28, and having just won an historic treble, he is at the peak of his powers.
When Salihamidzic dropped the bombshell, however, it was all systems go for a cabal of interested clubs.
"In life and football you should never say never," Salihamidzic said. "But I don't know how we can still find each other. We made an offer that was rejected and now we have to deal with the fact that David will leave us."
So far, we've seen his name mentioned in connection Juventus, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City among others, but according to SPORT, one club he won't be joining is Barcelona. In their current financial situation, they say, Alaba is nothing more than a pipe dream.
The defender is said to have asked for a two-year deal worth €15m per season on top of a signing-on fee that would 'replace the transfer fee' Barca would have expected to pay, and therefore pricing them out. The club were briefly in contact, but talks didn't last long after those demands were laid out.
Barça's finances were in a shambles even before the Covid-19 pandemic cost them something close to €300m, and they are currently in the process of trimming their wage bill - the highest in world football - so as not to face serious sanctions from UEFA.
It's easy to see why throwing close to €300,000 per week at a new defender, then - regardless of the fact he can cover centre-back, left-back and central midfield - isn't exactly their priority.