Manchester United confirm Sabitzer’s loan from Bayern after Eriksen injury

<span>Photograph: Alex Grimm/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Manchester United have taken Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich after Christian Eriksen sustained an ankle injury that could rule him out until early May.

Sabitzer has joined until the end of the season with no buy option. The 28-year-old Austria international moved to Bayern from RB Leipzig in 2021 and has started seven Bundesliga games and three Champions League games this season. He plays predominantly as a central midfielder but can also be used in a more attacking role.

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“From the moment I heard about this opportunity I knew it was right for me,” Sabitzer said. “I am a competitive player; I want to win and help the club achieve its aims this season. I feel that I am at my peak as a player, and that I can contribute a lot of experience and energy to the squad.”

Erik ten Hag turned to Sabitzer on a day when the manager criticised Andy Carroll for the challenge that injured Eriksen, stating it did not “belong on the pitch”.

The Reading striker’s lunge came in Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup win at Old Trafford and means Ten Hag is without a key midfielder for the majority of the rest of the season because of an ankle injury. United’s unhappiness with Carroll, who was not booked but was later sent off for two other fouls, was underlined by the challenge being mentioned in the club’s statement regarding the injury.

Ten Hag said of Carroll’s tackle: “I am disappointed about that. Football has to set limits, restrictions, to protect the players. What football wants is the best players available on the pitch. This tackle and the two tackles after don’t belong on a pitch because there is a high risk of injuring your colleague. I am wondering about [why it occurred].”

Ten Hag was asked whether he believed Carroll wanted to hurt Eriksen. “I make my view about this,” he said. “I think it was quite clear what my thoughts were.”

The manager also cited how Lisandro Martínez required lengthy treatment during the draw at Crystal Palace a fortnight ago after an elbow from Jean-Philippe Mateta, who also escaped censure. “It is a risk of injury for the player,” he said.

Scott McTominay, a potential replacement for Eriksen, is also out for up to three weeks with a muscle problem and Donny van de Beek, a fringe player, is unavailable until next season because of a knee injury.

Ten Hag described Eriksen’s absence as “a concern” but said: “These are things you have to deal with … In January dropping out too is Donny and also Scott McTominay is not available for a week, two weeks, even longer. So we have a challenge there. We have quality players there, that is obvious, but the depth is not there any more.”

Martínez has previously operated in midfield. Ten Hag said: “He did it before so that is [an option]. You have to be creative in such situations.”

Ten Hag expects to have Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho, who has not played since October, in his squad for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at home to Nottingham Forest.

Christian Eriksen is fouled by Reading’s Andy Carroll against Reading.
Christian Eriksen is fouled by Reading’s Andy Carroll against Reading. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA