Manchester United signed Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on loan until the end of the season on late deadline day.
There is no option to buy the Austria national team.
United’s need for a midfielder has intensified with Christian Eriksen ruled out with an ankle injury until at least April, with Donnie van de Beek unavailable until the end of the season and Scott McTominay out for several weeks.
The club were offered a host of midfielders, including free agent Isco, Atletico Madrid’s Saul Ninges and Yannick Carrasco and Lyon’s Houssem Ouar, but preferred Sabitzer.
Chelsea also wanted a deal for Sabitzer but opted to sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica instead.
Sabitzer joined Bayern from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2021 but has started just seven Bundesliga games so far this season.
Primarily a central midfielder, the 28-year-old has also played as a defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, second striker and winger during his career.
Sabitzer: I knew it was the right move for me
Manchester United loan signing on deadline day Sabitzer said:
“Sometimes in life you have to make quick and important decisions. From the moment I heard about this opportunity, I knew it was right for me.
“I’m a competitive player; I want to win and help the club achieve its goals this season.
“I feel that I am at my peak as a player and that I can give a lot of experience and energy to the team.
“I’m excited to get started with my new team-mates and manager and show my qualities to the Manchester United fans.
What can Sabitzer offer Man Utd?
Sky Sports News Senior Reporter Melissa Reddy:
“Manchester United’s initial interest was in Marcel Sabitzer’s Bayern Munich team-mate Ryan Gravenberch, who was shortlisted for Liverpool’s midfield before his move to the Bundesliga giants.
“The 20-year-old, trained by Ten Hag at Ajax, was frustrated by his lack of minutes at Bayern, but the club had no intention of letting him leave this month and the player himself wants to fight for his place.
“At very short notice, in a terribly tight position given Christian Eriksen’s injury, Sabitzer is a smart loan signing. The Austria international offers positional flexibility that he can cover after operating out wide, but also in a loose eight role similar to what Eriksen had.
“Comfortable with either foot, which will help United’s balance in possession, Sabitzer has the ability to progress quickly on the ball and is also adept at defending space, cutting off passing lanes using his covering shadow.”
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Germany view: Sabitzer has potential, but can he replace Eriksen?
Sky Germany’s Uli Kohler at Bayern Munich’s training ground:
“He is a player with potential. He is very important for the Austrian team. He was the most important player when he played for Leipzig, who were also in the Champions League several times and Sabitzer was one of the key players.
“Surely he can help. But to replace Eriksen, that remains to be seen.”
Merce: Zabitzer does not enter the Bayern team – this is a panic!
Sky Sports’ Paul Merson:
“Marcel Sabitzer is not in the Bayern Munich team. I know they have two concretes in the midfield but if he was that good he would be pressing. It’s back to panic again. There was no interest in him on January 1st… You buy second-rate Bayern Munich players.
“This boy was not on the radar before. He doesn’t make Bayern’s squad – he’s far from their first team. You have to ask, ‘is he going to make us better?’ I’m not sure.”
Ten Hag: We will miss Eriksen’s quality
Eriksen left Old Trafford on crutches after being forced off in Saturday’s FA Cup win over Reading and now looks set to miss a significant part of United’s clash.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of United’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg with Nottingham Forest, Erik ten Hag explained he has options to cover Eriksen’s absence – but admitted it would be difficult to replace the Dane’s quality in attacking areas.
“He’s disappointed and we’re disappointed but that happens in top-flight football. You have to deal with it,” the United boss said.
“We have players in midfield, good players who can fill the gap. Each player has their own characteristics and identity. Eriksen brings top quality to our team and some characteristics are hard to replace, for example his quality in the final third. “