Monday, September 27, 2021

Bayern sign Sabitzer, with Moriba set to take his place at Leipzig

SoccerNews in La Liga 30 Aug 2021

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Bayern Munich have raided RB Leipzig once again with the signing of Marcel Sabitzer on a four-year deal.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed on Saturday that the champions were working on a deal for the Austria international, and reports suggest he will cost approximately €16million.

Ordinarily Sabitzer would have been expected to fetch a significantly larger fee, but the 27-year-old – who joined Leipzig from Rapid Vienna in 2014 – has less than 12 months to run on his contract.

Sabitzer will link up once again with Julian Nagelsmann, who left Leipzig for Bayern at the end of last season, as did centre-back Dayot Upamecano.

The attacking midfielder enjoyed arguably his best season in Germany’s top flight under Nagelsmann in 2019-20, scoring nine Bundesliga goals (none of which were penalties) and setting up another seven – though 12 players had a hand in more (excluding spot-kicks).

That season was also his best for chances created (59). Although that was only enough to rank joint-eighth for that metric, Sabitzer’s 52 key passes from open play was bettered by just Thomas Muller (81), Kai Havertz (57), Jadon Sancho (55), Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner (both 53).

His output did decrease last term, managing just four goals (excluding four penalties) and three assists, while his chances created from open play nearly halved (28).

But that does not appear to have perturbed Nagelsmann.

Leipzig look set to pull of something of a coup in signing Sabitzer’s replacement, with Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba expected to join.

Moriba, a technically gifted midfielder, broke into the Barca first-team set-up last season and went on to feature 18 times across all competitions.

On February 13 this year, he became the youngest player this century to provide an assist on his LaLiga debut at the age of 18 years and 25 days.

The teenager particularly impressed with his confidence and ability on the ball, with his average of 3.2 dribbles per 90 minutes across 14 league appearances bettered by only four team-mates.

His 2.8 completed dribbles every 90 minutes gave him a success rate of 89.3 per cent – granted, it is a small sample, but the only Barca player to attempt at least one per 90 minutes and boast a better completion record was Miralem Pjanic.

Barca had been very eager to tie Moriba down to a new contract, with his deal set to expire next year, but president Joan Laporta suggested the midfielder was being unrealistic regarding his renewal demands.

Laporta said Moriba would not feature for the first team without committing his future to the club and added that he would sold as soon as possible to avoid him leaving for free next year if an agreement could not be met.

Leipzig have seemingly used the situation to their advantage, though their reported €20m outlay is not insignificant for a player with just 14 top-flight appearances to his name.

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