- Sabitzer signed on loan on deadline day
- Merson labelled move a "panic buy"
- Ferdinand insisted midfielder is "no chump"
WHAT HAPPENED? The Austrian international joined the reigning Bundesliga champions from RB Leipzig in 2021 but has failed to reach the same heights in Munich, boasting just four goal contributions in 54 matches. United's move for the 28-year-old was dubbed a "panic buy" by ex-Arsenal star and current Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who also labelled the Bayern loanee a "fourth-rate player". Ferdinand has since come out to dispel such notions, highlighting the midfielder's impressive performances for Leipzig in particular.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I am absolutely delighted with [the signing]," the former United defender told his FIVE YouTube channel. "If I was trying to get a short-term replacement for Eriksen at the drop of a hat, Sabitzer is the player I would get. I watched a hell of a lot of this player when he was at RB Leipzig and he was sensational. He was integral to everything they did. Yes he’s gone to Bayern and hasn’t tore it up there or become a regular but the players he’s behind are big, household names.
"He will be a really good signing for Man United. He’s an experienced player who has played in big games, Champions League games. For me, those comments [from Paul Merson] stink of someone who hasn’t seen him play. This guys knows how to play football. You don’t get signed by Bayern Munich if you’re a chump. He’s a really, really good footballer. Manchester United couldn’t have done any better, I don’t think."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: United were dealt a hammer blow when it was revealed that Christian Eriksen would be out until April due to an ankle problem picked up against Reading after Andy Carroll's horrific challenge. With the news of Eriksen's injury breaking on deadline day, United had little time to find an adequate replacement. They will hope Sabitzer's experience can bring a renaissance to their midfield comparable to that of Casemiro, who has been flying since joining in the summer.
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WHAT NEXT FOR SABITZER? United have now officially announced the loan signing with no buy option, meaning the Austrian is likely to be in attendance for Wednesday's League Cup match against Nottingham Forest, and could make his debut against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.