Reaction as United linked with move for Marcel Sabitzer

Manchester United have been named as a club interested in signing RB Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer this summer.

BILD report United are keen on Sabitzer, who has just one year remaining on his contract. Leipzig are said to want £36 million to sell this summer.

The fee is not unreasonable, although United would not doubt look to knock it down, given that Sabitzer is in the final year of his deal.

Key facts

Sabitzer is 27 years-old and hails from Austria. He has 46 international caps and eight goals.

This season he has played in 21 Bundesliga games, scored six times, and provided two assists. In all competitions his tally stands at seven goals and three assists.

Sabitzer has been at RB Leipzig since 2014, when he signed from Rapid Vienna.

Photo by Ahmad Mora/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Where does he fit in at United?

It’s important to stress that Sabitzer is not a defensive midfielder who United could expect to replace Nemanja Matic.

He has played there before, but his best position is as a more box-to-box type player.

This is reflected in his goal record, with Sabitzer scoring 99 career club goals, including 50 for RB Leipzig.

Two of these goals came in the Champions League round of 16 last season when he struck twice against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.

Sabitzer would be a player to come in and upgrade on Fred in United’s XI.

He could also be used as a short-term replacement for Paul Pogba, providing United sign a younger player, under 23, who the club also want to come in and become a midfield star.

But as far as replacing Fred goes, Sabitzer is a clear improvement because he can score goals. Shooting from distance is among his top attributes.

Extra role

Sabitzer can also play as a right winger, in fact this was his role at Rapid Vienna before he signed for Leipzig and played as a more central midfielder.

If United choose not to spend big on Jadon Sancho or Pedro Neto, then Sabitzer may be a useful asset, to allow rotation with Amad Diallo, when the Austrian is not required in a central role.

Is a deal realistic?

This is a matter of priority vs opportunism. There are obviously more pressing deals for United, like striker, winger, centre-back, and defensive midfielder.

This does not mean United should pass up opportunities to sign good players in other positions, and reshaping the midfield has to be a priority, especially if Pogba leaves.

Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

The midfield duo of Fred and Scott McTominay has come in for criticism for being too slow and uninspired in terms of build-up play, and Fred is a non-factor when it comes to goals and assists.

Sabitzer’s potential availability gives United an extra option, but wait too long, and he will head elsewhere.

It would be a short-term deal which helps United improve instantly in a couple of areas, central midfield and right wing, and the club could get three or four years out of him at his peak.

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