Reports were everywhere on Saturday claiming that David Alaba would prefer a move to Arsenal rather than Manchester United.
It was quite a bolt out of the blue for most fans. Had he even been linked with Arsenal? Why is he expressing a preference? OMG HOW AMAZING IS THIS?
Well, it’s not amazing at all.
Here’s what seems to have happened
The Manchester Evening News (M.E.N.) published a post at Friday around lunchtime with the headline:
Most people, as you know, don’t read beyond a headline, but you do, because you’re smart.
I opened the article expecting to find a quote from the player, or perhaps his agent, friend or ‘source close to’ but there was nothing. Just silence.
The only thing you get is ‘M.E.N. Sport understands.’
What do they understand? M.E.N. Sport understands the boyhood Arsenal fan would rather relocate to London, discounting a reunion with Pep Guardiola at City.
Arsenal, they say, are ‘believed’ to be interested in him and we were briefly linked with a move for him at the start of August. It was a rumour that came and went in no time, perhaps because Alaba had only just signed a new deal a few months before?
Someone who does know Alaba did once say that the player would have preferred to go to Arsenal, saying no to Bayern Munich twice as he didn’t like them. So maybe this is what they are basing their article on, recycling to make it look current.
Speaking in April, one of the first journalists to cover the player when he was a youngster, Andras Heindenreich, told France Football, “David was so good that Austria (Wien) couldn’t keep him. Heiko Vogel, Bayern’s U14 manager, spotted him during a tournament in Bremen. He was straight away seduced by his will and charisma on the pitch.
“He was the best in his team with (Christoph) Knasmüllner. However, David will say no twice to Bayern Munich, a team he didn’t like. He preferred Arsenal, where his idol, Patrick Vieira, played.”
“He preferred Arsenal, where his idol, Patrick Vieira, played.”
So as you can see, he has expressed a preference before.
But not in the context that is being touted in headlines this weekend.