Man Utd's need for a midfielder has intensified after Christian Eriksen was ruled out with injury until at least April; Chelsea have been working on a move for Benfica's Enzo Fernandez but that deal has not yet been fully agreed; United's preference is a loan which could work for Bayern
Wednesday 1 February 2023 00:15, UK
Manchester United are close to agreeing a deal to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, say Sky in Germany.
Sabitzer was seen boarding a flight to Manchester on Transfer Deadline Day. Talks are ongoing between the two clubs, with the player thought to be open to the move on Deadline Day.
The move for Sabitzer, who still has two-and-a-half years left on his contract, will be a loan with a buy clause inserted.
United were offered Isco, Saul Niguez, Houssem Aouar and Yannick Carrasco among others on Deadline Day, but decided to pursue Sabitzer.
United manager Erik ten Hag admitted earlier on Deadline Day that it would be difficult to do a deal for a player this late and insists United have enough in their current squad to cope with the loss of the injured Christian Eriksen, who is ruled out with injury until at least April.
However, United have spotted an opportunity with Sabitzer - someone they looked at when they were in the market for a midfielder in the summer.
Chelsea have also been keen on Sabitzer, according to Sky in Germany, but they are working on a move for Benfica's Enzo Fernandez - a deal that has not been fully agreed yet.
Bayern are ready to let Sabitzer leave on loan or permanently and their sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has been on the phone to both Premier League clubs.
United are waiting on Bayern to decide if they will do business - although the Manchester Evening News are reporting United are 'confident' they can complete a deal before the deadline.
The fact United and Bayern are in different European competitions and not direct rivals could be one key factor in any possible deal.
Austria international 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.
Sky Sports' Paul Merson speaking on Deadline Day:
"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.
"Chelsea are trying to get Enzo Fernandez over the line and Christian Eriksen is now injured at Man United. It's panic. 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."
Sky Germany's Uli Kohler at Bayern Munich's training ground:
"Following Eriksen, he has big footsteps, but he can try his best. For sure, you cannot replace Eriksen one to one.
"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."
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."
Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal for Benfica's Enzo Fernandez after making a £105.6m bid - the same value as the midfielder's release clause.
Todd Boehly's Blues want to structure that release clause fee in instalments, as paying in one go has Financial Fair Play and tax implications.
Chelsea have been in talks to sign the Argentina World Cup winner throughout this month but Benfica had refused to do business unless the Blues pay the €120m (£105.6m) release clause.
The midfielder has once again told Benfica that he wants to join Chelsea. If Fernandez does move to Stamford Bridge, he would surpass the £100m Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish from Aston Villa 18 months ago, making him the most expensive Premier League signing ever.
Who will be on the move this winter? The January transfer window closes at 11pm in England and midnight in Scotland on Tuesday January 31, 2023.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.
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