When former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness called David Alaba’s advisor Pini Zahavi a "money-hungry piranha" some time ago, you could already guess in which direction this story was developing.
For months, Bayern Munich have been negotiating a possible contract extension for Alaba, who has been with the club since 2008.
One party (Alaba) wants to sign the biggest contract of his career because he thinks he is at his peak.
The other party (the Bayern Munich hierarchy) don't want their salary structure to be ruined, especially not in a pandemic that is currently causing great economic confusion.
Prem giants eye Bayern star after new deal 'taken off table' - Euro Papers
In addition - and this has always been the approach of the club - they only do business under very specific conditions: those of Bayern Munich. You don't get very far as a piranha.
After Alaba’s side were not satisfied with Bayern’s offer (allegedly around 17 million euros per year) by the deadline set at the end of October, Hainer said: “We decided to take the offer completely off the table. That means there is no longer any offer.”
At first glance it sounds like the end of all negotiations. But of course it isn't. It is a strong sign, however; a power move. Bayern are protecting themselves internally and externally.
Hainer said Bayern need to "plan for safety for such an important job". He added that Alaba is a “lovable guy” and one would “regret” a possible separation in the coming summer, but that's not how it works. The risk of losing a top performer - a double-treble-winner - free of charge, is accepted. Now the ball is with Alaba.
Together with Zahavi, the tough dog he hired especially for these negotiations, and his father, he has to find out in a timely manner whether it is the right move to give in or say goodbye. It is a narrow line on which the Austrian walks.
Should he insist on his demands, he must be sure that another club will meet them next summer. The talk is of 20 million euros per year. In addition, there would be a signing-on fee in the double-digit million range. Bayern Munich - as has been clear since yesterday - seem prepared to invest this money elsewhere.
But will Alaba find a better deal than the one he has with the Bundesliga champions?