Man Utd's need for a midfielder intensified after Christian Eriksen was ruled out until at least April; they were offered Isco, Saul Niguez, Houssem Aouar and Yannick Carrasco among others on Deadline Day, but preferred a move for Sabitzer; initial interest was in Ryan Gravenberch
Wednesday 1 February 2023 10:23, UK
Manchester United have signed Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on loan until the end of the season in a late Deadline Day move.
There is no option to buy the Austria international.
United's need for a midfielder intensified after Christian Eriksen was ruled out with an ankle injury until at least April, with Donny van de Beek unavailable for the rest of the season and Scott McTominay out for a few weeks.
The club were offered a host of midfielders including free agent Isco, Atletico Madrid's Saul Ninguez and Yannick Carrasco and Lyon's Houssem Aouar, but preferred Sabitzer.
Chelsea also enquired about a deal for Sabitzer but chose to pursue a move for Benfica's Enzo Fernandez.
Sabitzer joined Bayern from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2021 but has started just seven games in the Bundesliga so far this season.
Predominantly a central midfielder, the 28-year-old has also played as a defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, second striker and winger during his career.
Man Utd's Deadline Day loan signing 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 am a competitive player; I want to win and help the club achieve its aims this season.
"I feel that I am at my peak as a player, and that I can contribute a lot of experience and energy to the squad.
"I'm excited to start with my new team-mates and manager and to show my qualities to Manchester United fans."
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 on Liverpool's midfield shortlist ahead of his switch to the Bundesliga giants.
"The 20-year-old, coached by Ten Hag at Ajax, has been disillusioned 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.
"On very short notice, in a horribly tight bind given Christian Eriksen's injury situation, Sabitzer is a clever addition on loan. The Austria international offers versatility in the positions he can cover, having operated out wide but also in a free eight role similar to what Eriksen has had.
"Comfortable with both feet which will aid United's balance in possession, Sabitzer has the ability to progress the ball quickly and is also adept at protecting space, cutting off passing lanes using his cover shadow."
Sky Germany's Uli Kohler at Bayern Munich's training ground:
"He's a player with potential. He is very important for the Austrian team. He was the most important player when he played at Leipzig, who were also in the Champions League a few times and Sabitzer was one of the key players.
"For sure, he can help. But to replace Eriksen, that waits to be seen."
Sky Sports' Paul Merson:
"Marcel Sabitzer doesn't get in the Bayern Munich team. I know they've got a two cemented in midfield but if he was that good he'd be pushing. Again it goes back to panic. There was no interest in him on January 1... You're buying second-rate Bayern Munich players.
"This lad wasn't on the radar before. He doesn't get in the Bayern team - nowhere near their first team. You've got to ask 'is he going to make us better?' I'm not sure."
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 amount of United's run-in.
Speaking in 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 hard to replace the Dane's quality in attacking areas.
"He's disappointed and we're disappointed, but it happens in top football. You have to deal with it," the United boss said.
"We have players in midfield, good players, who can fill the gap. Every player has their own characteristics and identity. Eriksen brings top quality to our squad and some characteristics are hard to replace, for instance, his quality in the final third."