Roma are looking like they’re on a relentless chase to sign leaders. Between recent transfer targets Andrea Belotti, Teun Koopmeiners, and Granit Xhaka, all the names on Roma’s list have worn (or continue to wear) the captain’s armband for their current clubs. That trend won’t be broken with Roma’s next target, as their crosshairs zone in on RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer—after the midfielder just reportedly informed his club that he wishes to leave for a new adventure.
The Athletic reports that Sabitzer has let RB Leipzig know he wishes to start a new challenge and, with just 12 months left on the Austrian’s current contract, the Bundesliga club has every motivation they need to sell Sabitzer this summer and avoid watching him leave for nothing in 2022. Several other sites, including Football Italia, jumped on the Athletic’s report to re-heat links between Sabitzer and known admirer José Mourinho.
Will Mourinho work his charisma to convince Sabitzer to come to the Eternal City for next season? Aside from the Decreto Crescita giving Roma a fighting chance when it comes to giving the Austrian midfielder a pay raise from his Bundesliga days, then the star power of Roma’s new head coach is pretty much the only thing the Giallorossi have in their arsenal on these negotiations. That’s because Sabitzer is also a long-term transfer target for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, which now opens up some interest questions on what’s next for Roma’s current crop of midfielders.
Aside from Bryan Cristante further back, and both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini up front, Roma are short of suitable midfielders for Mourinho’s desired football. But with Tottenham all but set to bring former Roma coach Paulo Fonseca to North London next season, will Spurs now be raiding Roma for Fonseca’s former disciples Veretout, Diawara, and Villar among others?
If Tottenham and Roma really have switched managers for the next campaign, this could finally grease the wheels on what was looking like a very stilted calciomercato season to date. Then again, it seems far more simple for Spurs to save themselves the hassle of signing Roma’s midfielders and just go directly for Sabitzer.
The 27-year-old RB Leipzig player is reportedly on the market for anywhere between €17.5 million and €20 million euros. Not the steepest mountain to climb for either Roma or Tottenham, which really leaves it in Sabitzer's hands to decide what challenges he prefers to take up next.
From what we’ve seen of Sabitzer, he’s the equivalent of what would happen if Bryan Cristante or Ghanit Xhaka took a dose of the NZT pill from the Bradley Cooper thriller Limitless. Sabitzer is just that much quicker to find a pass, incisive when it comes to catching opponent’s defenses off guard, and very good defensively when it comes to contesting the ball clean off an opponent.
He’s also very comfortable moving into the channels on the ball before becoming a goal-threat anywhere near the penalty area. And that pretty much makes Sabitzer the same player profile as what we were dreaming of getting in the younger Renato Sanches, earlier this spring.
Will it happen? To dream is free... or a maximum of €20 million euros, if the latest reports are true. Let’s just hope Sabitzer doesn’t ask RB Leipzig team-mate Justin Kluivert whether Marcel should go play for Roma or not.