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Player Profile – Marcel Sabitzer | What Will be the Austrian Midfielder’s Role at United?

Marcel Sabitzer, Arsenal, Manchester United

Marcel Sabitzer joined Manchester United as a late signing on the January transfer deadline day. The Austrian midfielder has been signed on a six-month loan deal from Bayern Munich. Sabitzer offers the Red Devils some much-needed depth in the middle of the park, especially after Christian Eriksen’s injury.

The former RB Leipzig midfielder had fallen behind Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich and Ryan Gravenberch in the pecking order at Bayern. He had 24 appearances for the Bavarian giants this season, but only 11 of those came as a starter. Similarly, the Austrian had only 9 starts in the whole of last season under Julian Nagelsmann.

Marcel Sabitzer
Image Obtained via Manchester United

The 28-year-old has played as an attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder, winger, and left-back in his career. He brings some much-needed depth to United’s midfield, as the Red Devils push for a top-4 finish and success in the cup competitions.

Player Career

Marcel Sabitzer graduated through the ranks of the Admira Wacker youth academy, making his first-team debut in 2011. Across three years, the Austrian made 45 league appearances for Admira (stats via Transfermarkt), before signing for Rapid Wien in January 2013.

Sabitzer spent just one full season with Wien, making 57 appearances across all competitions, before being snapped up by RB Leipzig. The German club loaned the midfielder back to Austrian counterparts RB Salzburg for the 2014-15 season. He truly made his mark for Salzburg, scoring 19 goals and creating 16 more in 33 league games.

In 6 seasons with RB Leipzig, the Austrian midfielder made 229 appearances, scoring 52 times and assisting another 42. He was a part of the 2019-20 side that reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

The 28-year-old then signed up for German champions Bayern Munich in 2021, for a fee of €16 million. Incidentally, defender Dayot Upamecano and manager Julian Nagelsmann also crossed over to Bayern from Leipzig in the same window.

For the Austrian National Team, Sabitzer has 12 goals and 11 assists from 68 games. He was also a part of the Austrian team for the Euro 2016 and Euro 2020 tournaments.

Marcel Sabitzer: Player Profile

Marcel Sabitzer is a top player, who has been targeted by many top clubs in recent years. Primarily right-footed, the Austrian was initially used as an attacking midfielder. However, Nagelsmann moved the player into the holding midfield role for the 2019-20 season.

Sabitzer is an elite creator, be it from advanced or deep areas. The 28-year-old has the vision, technical ability, and passing range to pick out attackers in dangerous positions. The Austrian also loves to shoot from distance, adding another threat to United’s attack.

He is also a reliable passer and safe dribbler. He is calm under pressure and loves to drive forward from deeper areas of the field. This could provide United with an interesting dynamic while in possession, as Casemiro would sit deeper to shield the defence.

The former RB Salzburg man is also an asset defensively. Sabitzer is solid while contesting for duels and is a strong tackler. He also possesses an outstanding work rate and covers practically every inch of the field. This is a crucial trait for any midfielder to succeed in Erik ten Hag’s pressing scheme.

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Marcel Sabitzer is a quality acquisition at the right time for Manchester United. The Austrian provides adequate cover, if not an upgrade, for Christian Eriksen in the middle of the park. He also allows Ten Hag the tactical flexibility of switching between a double pivot and a midfield three.

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Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

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