Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ferdinand savages Merson over worrying Sabitzer to Man Utd claim, with real reason Bayern stint failed stated

New Man Utd midfielder Marcel Sabitzer

Rio Ferdinand has taken Paul Merson to task with a brutal put-down after the ex-Arsenal man labelled Marcel Sabitzer a Man Utd “panic” buy.

Once Christian Eriksen was ruled out for up to three months with an ankle injury, Manchester United quickly mobilised in the final hours of the window.

Contact was made with many of Europe’s elite, with the Telegraph reporting opportunities at Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich were all explored.

But while Erik ten Hag turned his nose up after being offered Atletico Yannick Carrassco, he was far more receptive when the Sabitzer opportunity arose.

The 28-year-old immediately agreed personal terms with United and Bayern had no qualms over sanctioning a six-month loan.

The deal does not contain an option to buy, meaning if Man Utd want to sign him outright, negotiations will have to begin afresh in the summer.

In any case, United have landed a high profile Eriksen replacement in their engine room for the remainder of the season.

Sabitzer was a bona fide Bundesliga superstar during his time at RB Leipzig between 2014-21.

He racked up 52 goals and 42 assists in 229 appearances and was named in the Bundesliga and Champions League teams of the season for the 2019/20 campaign. However, he has found the going tougher since joining Bayern.

Just two goals and two assists have been notched in 54 outings for the Bavarians. The end result has seen the Austria international relegated to a bench role.

Sabitzer wasn’t selected to start any of Bayern’s last nine Bundesliga matches. As such, pundit Paul Merson termed the Man Utd move a “panic” buy.

Man Utd fans should be concerned – Merson

“He doesn’t get in the Bayern Munich team, he’s way off that,” Merson told Sky Sports. “I know the two in midfield [Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka] are cemented but if he was that good, he’d be pushing.

“Again it goes back to panic. There was no interest in him on January 1, now it’s a panic, Eriksen’s just got injured and it’s a panic and you’re bringing fourth-rate Bayern Munich players in. For me, I’m not sure about that.

“This lad wasn’t on the radar before, he doesn’t get in the Bayern Munich team. If I’m a Manchester United fan I’d be looking and thinking he’s not in their first team so why would we want him in our team.

“Are there players there already who are better than him?”

Ferdinand blasts Merson, heralds Sabitzer coup

Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand wasted no time taking Merson to task.

Aside from claiming Merson has probably never even seen Sabitzer play, Ferdinand also suggested that of all the Eriksen deputies Ten Hag could’ve signed, Sabitzer is the undisputed best choice.

“I am absolutely delighted with it,” Ferdinand said on the 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 and who wouldn’t know who he is or if he’s left or right-footed because you can’t say it’s a bad signing.

“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.”

READ MORE: Marcel Sabitzer tells Man Utd he’s at his ‘peak’ after deadline-beating arrival from Bayern Munich