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Loan Tied to Champions League Qualification Could Unlock Sabitzer Transfer

Roma's pursuit of Marcel Sabitzer remains in limbo, but a loan plus an obligation tied to Champions League qualification could be the key to unlocking this deal.

Manchester United v Sevilla FC: Quarterfinal First Leg - UEFA Europa League Photo by Michael Zemanek/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

After trying and failing to bring former Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi back to Rome, Tiago Pinto has pivoted to the Giallorossi's secondary options: Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer and PSG's Portuguese wrecking-ball Renato Sanches. While Roma isn't necessarily wrestling with other clubs for their signatures, they are nevertheless handcuffed by their financial limitations.

Yes, Roma more or less satisfied their Financial Fair Play requirements by generating €30 million in sales before June 30th (though they may have covered the final several million via a fine), but that doesn't mean Pinto is free to spend as he pleases. And while Sabitzer and Sanches are persona non grata at their current clubs, neither PSG nor Bayern Munich has to bend to Roma's will—they can afford to carry redundant assets on their payroll, so Pinto's early attempts at acquiring either player on loan have been stonewalled.

While both players seemingly fit Mourinho's demand for a do-it-all midfielder with an offensive flair, Sabitzer sent the Romaverse atwitter (okay, that may have just been me) earlier this week when he captioned a vacation photo with a cryptic "buon giorno" indicating, perhaps, that he's destined for Serie A next season.

With Bayern Munich preferring a straight sale of the 29-year-old Austrian midfielder and Roma unwilling to meet that demand, the Gazzetta dello Sport reports the two sides could meet in the middle, with Sabitzer arriving in Rome on an initial one-year loan with a mandatory purchase clause tied to the club qualifying for the Champions League.

It's not an ideal situation, but if Roma does qualify for the Champions League (which could be made easier since the competition is expanding), they should be able to afford Sabitzer's transfer fee and salary.

Now that Roma's pre-season has begun, expect a bit more urgency in their transfer dealings—stay tuned for additional updates.