Man Utd transfer news: Could Sabitzer be the Pogba replacement?

Nicholas Hughes
Man Utd transfer news: Could Sabitzer be the Pogba replacement?

Man Utd target Marcel Sabitzer looks set to leave RB Leipzig in favour of a Premier League switch in the summer, and the Red Devils will be lining up a move.

They will reportedly face competition from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur for the Austrian’s signature according to Bild, who report that Sabitzer will reject a contract renewal to seek a transfer.

The 27-year-old’s contract is set to expire in the summer of 2022, and he is said to be ready to push for a move to England that could lower Leipzig’s asking price.

With Paul Pogba’s Old Trafford future perennially uncertain, Sabitzer looms as a like-for-like replacement for the Frenchman and someone that could fill the World Cup-winners shoes in midfield.

Sabitzer is a year younger than Pogba – almost to the day – and has developed into a very similar player.

Initially a No.10 or second striker, Sabitzer has transitioned further back the pitch and has found his role in Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig outfit as a box-to-box No.8 or a deep-lying playmaker, much like Pogba.

Man Utd’s Pogba replacement?

StatisticSabitzer 2020/21Pogba 2020/21
Passes P9056.864.6
Final third passes P9019.622.3
Big chances created50
Recoveries P906.77.3
Shots P902.51.3
league minutes only via FootballCritic

Sabitzer has six goals and two assists this season compared to Pogba’s three and zero respectively, with the Austrian’s most prolific campaign coming last season where he recorded 16 goal involvements.

Across the board, the two are incredibly similar statistically. The biggest difference comes in the number of passes per 90 minutes, with Pogba averaging 64.6 to Sabitzer’s 56.8.

Despite playing slightly deeper and averaging less dribbles and touches in the opposition penalty area P90, Sabitzer has created five big chances in the Bundesliga this season, while Pogba hasn’t created one at all in the Premier League.

Is Pogba on the way out at Man Utd?

Is Pogba on the way out at Man Utd?

Pogba has increased his defensive production this season with his best numbers for tackles and aerial duels won P90 since his first season back at Old Trafford in 2017/18.

The Frenchman has about six-and-a-half inches on Sabitzer, but the Leipzig man does still win a respectable 50% of his aerial duels P90.

If, or when, Pogba does leave United, Sabitzer looks as an ideal replacement. He could also take some of the responsibility that Donny van de Beek has failed to take in his first season in Manchester.

Energetic defensively, intelligent and highly skilled on the ball and versatile across the middle of the pitch, the Austria international could be a big signing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the summer and could be the man to complement Bruno Fernandes in United’s midfielder.