Manchester United have been struck a huge blow in their pursuit of David Alaba, with the brilliant young defender reportedly preferring a move to their Premier League rivals Arsenal

The 24-year-old defensive player is as versatile as they come, having played in central defence, left-back and defensive midfield with equal ease. Alaba is currently one of Bayern Munich’s top players, but could be on the way out of the Allianz Arena very soon.

Manchester United were reportedly very keen on launching a move for the Austrian international in the next transfer window. However, they have been dealt a massive blow in this regard, with Manchester Evening News reporting that Alaba would prefer a move to Arsenal instead.

The report states that Alaba is a boyhood Arsenal fan, while a move to rejoin former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City could also be on the cards.

Alaba’s current contract runs till 2021, and he is valued at around £34 million. However, if either Arsenal or Manchester United want to sign him, they will have to offer substantially more. La Liga giants Real Madrid had also failed in their attempts to sign him this past summer, despite offering a reported £54 million.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 15: David Alaba of Muenchen runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Muenchen at Commerzbank-Arena on October 15, 2016 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 15: David Alaba of Muenchen runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Muenchen at Commerzbank-Arena on October 15, 2016 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo courtesy Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Alaba was used mostly in central defence by former manager Pep Guardiola, who has a penchant of playing full-backs as center-halves. However, most of his appearances under Carlo Ancelotti have come in a more natural left-back position, which could prove to be interesting for Arsenal.

The Gunners could be looking to ease the burden on their 30-year-old first choice left-back Nacho Monreal, and Alaba is one of the best defensive players in the world right now. There hopes will be further boosted by these reports, though the transfer fee may prove to be a deal breaker.

It is difficult to imagine Arsenal and Arsene Wenger sanctioning the kind of huge transfer fee that Bayern would demand for the 24-year-old. The fact that they are also competing with big spenders like Manchester United and Real Madrid could result in the Gunners looking elsewhere for a full-back.

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