One of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag’s biggest challenges last season was overcoming midfield problems with four stars suffering long-term injuries while a few struggled with poor form.
Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen suffered major injuries last season that kept them out of the team for an extended period.
Such was graveness of the situation that the Red Devils were forced to dip into the loan market during the January transfer window, as Ten Hag greenlit the arrival of Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich.
The Austrian made 18 appearances in all competitions, starting 11 times and registering three goals and a solitary assist.
Sabitzer failed to earn a permanent move
He showed plenty of endeavour but ultimately suffered a long-term injury which curtailed his season just when things were looking up.
United had the option of signing Sabitzer on a permanent basis but Bayern’s asking price of €25million seemed too steep and the 29-year-old did not produce enough to justify such a spend.
But considering what Ten Hag saw last season, strengthening in midfield was absolutely essential and after three failed bids, they finally won the race to sign Mason Mount from Chelsea.
The England international will bring his creative qualities to the table and might prove to be an able partner for Casemiro. But United still need to strengthen up front and in goal.
But due to budgetary restrictions, not too much is left in terms of the transfer kitty and the club will need to sell in order to fund further arrivals.
The midfield trio of McTominay, Van de Beek and Fred have all been made available on the market. The Scot is being eyed by Newcastle and Everton while Fred could seal a move to Serie A with Roma eyeing a move.
The Dutch midfielder could join the Brazilian in Italy with AC Milan interested and all this could mean that the 20-time English league champions need another backup midfielder to compensate for the loss in numbers.
Interestingly, this is where Sabitzer could still seal a permanent move to Old Trafford. The Bundesliga champions clearly do not want him in their ranks.
All hope not lost yet
While they had tried to earn a profit back when he was in good touch for United, they have realised the futility of it and have decided to reduce their asking price once again as per transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.
“Bayern are now prepared to let Marcel Sabitzer leave the club in case they receive a good proposal, around €15/17m.
“Manchester United announced yesterday his departure after loan deal; Erik ten Hag was happy with Sabitzer, but the club still have different priorities on the market for now.”
Barcelona have been linked with a move and while United seem to be focussing on other areas, they could yet return considering the drop in price and the fact that the Austria international is familiar with Ten Hag’s methods.