A new day brings with it more grist for the midfield rumor mill. After being linked with players as varied as Davide Frattesi, Houssem Aouar, Isco, Benjamin Bourigead, Jorginho, and even our old pal Leandro Paredes, the Gazzetta dello Sport added a new name to the mix: Marcel Sabitzer. The 28-year-old Austrian international was linked with the Giallorossi just last summer but opted instead for the greener pastures of Bayern Munich.
After scoring 25 goals and contributing 17 assists in 82 appearances in all competitions for RB Leipzig between 2019 and 2021, and fresh off an impressive run with Austria at the pandemic-delayed Euro 2020, Sabitzer had his pick of clubs last summer. While Roma reportedly made a play for the Leipzig midfielder, Sabitzer made a €15 million move to Munich on August 30, 2021.
However, with only one goal and one assist for Bayern, Sabtizer's sweet life soon turned sour. Not only did his goalscoring and playmaking stats hit the skids, he barely played, seeing his playing time drop from over 2,000 minutes in each of his previous three seasons to a measly 905 league minutes for Bayern this year. Apart from a calf injury that kept him sidelined for nearly a month last December, Sabitzer was fit and available for Julian Nagelsmann's club, he just couldn't seem to crack a rotation that included stalwarts like Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, to name a few.
But, Bayern's loss could be Roma's gain if La Gazzetta dello Sport’s reporting proves accurate. According to the Italian paper, if Bayern signs another midfielder this summer, Sabitzer could be had for as little as €15 to €20 million; not cheap, but a decent price for a player his age and with his positional versatility. While he was a bit player this year for Bayern, Sabitzer saw time at six different positions this season, including defensive mid, attacking mid, and both full-back spots.
In that light, the fit is obvious: Sabitzer would give José Mourinho practically unlimited lineup options. As appealing as that might be, Sabitzer is more than a mere chess piece; his skill set is just as impressive as his versatility. We'll save the more nuanced statistical review if/when this move becomes official, but suffice it to say, Sabitzer is a stat stuffer, earning high marks from Football Reference in a host of attacking, defending, and possession-based statistics.
Sabitzer would be a surprise addition to the summer 2022 transfer market, so expect Roma to face stiff competition, particularly from Arsenal, but he's precisely the type of versatile glue guy a team on the rise like Roma needs.