A possible departure for Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao has been on the cards for the last two seasons. The closest he came to a departure was the confirmed report, by the BBC, regarding a transfer deadline day swoop by Manchester United that ultimately fell through in the summer of 2013.
Coentrao leaving Real Madrid this summer is considered a foregone conclusion in Spanish media circles, so inevitably Manchester United have been linked once more, along with suggestions that Liverpool and Arsenal might also make bids - per the Daily Star.
Keen to ensure they always have strength and depth available in all positions, to accompany and challenge key left-back Marcelo, Real Madrid are now reportedly in the market for another option for this slot in their team. A particular target has also been identified.
According to Marca, Real Madrid emissaries have paid a visit to Vienna over the last week, where they held talks with musician, DJ and now football agent, George Alaba - the father of Bayern Munich star David Alaba.
While the 22-year-old has mainly operated as a left-back during his time with Bayern Munich, his positional versatility and the arrival of talented Spain international Juan Bernat from Valencia last summer, has seen Pep Guardiola utilise Alaba in a variety of other roles. Centre-back, centre-midfield, right-wing, all among the areas played, while he's also regarded as a free-kick and penalty expert.
It is, however, acknowledged that any approach for Alaba will be difficult. Having signed a new five-year contract with Bayern Munich in 2013, the player professed a desire to see out his career with the Bavarian club at the time. That stance may not have changed, but the lure of a move to the Bernabéu could prove a tempting opportunity.
Any move could also prove very costly and difficult to realise. Estimated values of around €40 million are quoted, whilst it's also suggested there would be a reluctance by Bayern Munich to sell. As such, the reports claim that it would require the player wanting a move to Real Madrid for any deal to go through.
Real Madrid maintain healthy relations with Bayern Munich, following deals in either direction for Toni Kroos and Xabi Alonso, so clearly if any talks with Alaba's father have taken place, the Spanish giants may just have been tentatively dipping their toe in the water, to see if it's hot or cold. The player would certainly fit the bill though, when it comes to Los Blancos scouring the market for the best and brightest players, whatever the cost.