David Alaba could play midfield role
David Alaba could be given a new role in the Bayern Munich midfield, with coach Pep Guardiola considering using the defender in a similar way to skipper Phillip Lahm last season.
Lahm is known as one of the best full-backs in the game, but Guardiola deployed him just in front of the back four after taking charge.
Germany coach Joachim Low followed Guardiola's lead and fielded Lahm in a defensive midfield position at the World Cup until Bastian Schweinsteiger returned and Lahm reverted to full-back.
According to Guardiola, Alaba is ready to make the same switch, with the coach telling a Munich news conference: "David can play anywhere.
"He can play in defensive midfield or central midfield -- he normally plays there for Austria. David is a huge gift for FC Bayern."
A positional shift for Alaba, touted following the summer arrival of full-back Juan Bernat, would intensify competition for places in midfield, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago Alcantara, Lahm and Javi Martinez all vying for a spot.
However, the departure of Toni Kroos to Real Madrid could be one of the reasons why Alaba, Austria's Sportsman of the Year for 2013, is being tipped for a new role.
Martinez could then revert to the centre of the defence -- although with Holger Badstuber fit again and Dante and Jerome Boateng as alternatives, competition for that position will also be strong.
"We could play with either three or four at the back -- we've got the players for it, but we will probably play with a back four," Guardiola said.
He praised Badstuber, back in action after almost two years out injured, adding: "I'm very pleased with him. He's a fantastic lad and he's worked really hard on his comeback."