Bayern Munich view: Marcel Sabitzer is an unfortunate loss

Manchester United have signed Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on loan until the end of the season in a late Deadline Day move. We asked editor of Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works, Chuck Smith, for his perspective on the deal and how their fans feel about it.

When the news broke that Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer was on his way to Manchester United or Chelsea, it was a shocking turn of events.

It was just a few days earlier where Sabitzer’s agent declared that the Austrian wanted to stay with the club even though his countryman, Konrad Laimer, will move to Bayern Munich in the summer.

Then…it all changed.

Seemingly out nowhere, Sabitzer changed his mind and was hopping aboard a flight to England. How did we get here? Let’s take a look at why this all happened and what Manchester United will be getting.

Why is Sabitzer leaving?

After a first season in Munich where he never found his footing or got into any type of rhythm, Sabitzer has been excellent during this campaign. Filling in for injured star Leon Goretzka in the first half of the season, Sabitzer sacrificed much of the offensive part of his own game to sit deeper and allow Joshua Kimmich to advance farther up the field.

The partnership was terrific — but it did cause some friction. Goretzka came back and was impatient with the club’s slow-track plan for his return (newsflash, he’s hurt again) and summer transfer Ryan Gravenberch went on to publicly complain about his role in October and also just a few days ago after lagging behind Sabitzer on the depth chart.

Moreover, manager Julian Nagelsmann is toying with playing Jamal Musiala in the central midfield as well, which creates an even bigger logjam.

Sabitzer, who probably earned a starting role based on his performances, kept it professional, did not whine to the media, and continued to work…until it became obvious that he would no longer have a role if the club was going to attempt to appease Gravenberch this season and also integrate Laimer next season.

What this does to Bayern Munich

This assuredly hurts Bayern Munich’s depth and also allows one of the squad’s most stable and down-to-earth players to walk away at a time where his experience and talent might be needed. This is a very unfortunate loss.

What Manchester United will be getting

Sabitzer will give United a versatile, experienced, and talented central midfielder who can function in any role required. Sabitzer can score, pass, and play a deeper more conservative role if needed. At Bayern Munich, he tucked away all of his attacking prowess to assimilate into a deep, tight-knit team. At Manchester United, he might be able to re-channel that part of his game that has been suppressed for the past two seasons.

To be clear, he is not the same threat he was three years ago and he will not be bullying anyone around the pitch with his slight stature. The adjustment to the Premier League is also something to keep an eye on. It took Sabitzer a decent amount of time to get comfortable on— and off of — the pitch in Munich.

The Austrian is also a low-key presence off the field, where he is said to prefer a life as a family man rather than a party boy.

Final thought

Given Christian Eriksen’s situation, this was a deft move for Manchester United. For Bayern Munich, it took a potential headache off the board because the Austrian’s presence could have been an issue for Gravenberch, who the club desperately wants to keep happy.

Sabitzer should help Manchester United, but it will be important for him to feel as if he has a role and to also be active. Part of the reason his first season in Munich went awry was because he had trouble adopting to having a lesser role. An engaged Sabitzer will be a solid contributor for the Red Devils…but an uncomfortable Sabitzer won’t solve any of the team’s issues.

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