Tottenham’s £45m target Marcel Sabitzer is RB Leipzig’s midfield all-rounder who loves to chip in with goals and assists… he could be the man Jose Mourinho needs to ease the burden on Harry Kane and Son Heung-min
- Jose Mourinho is looking to keep Tottenham’s title challenge going this season
- RB Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer has emerged as a £45million transfer target
- The Austrian, 26, is genuine midfield all-rounder and could be what Spurs need
- He has eye for goal which could ease burden on Harry Kane and Heung-min Son
Jose Mourinho is looking to keep Tottenham’s title flame burning this season and RB Leipzig star Marcel Sabitzer has emerged as a £45million January transfer target.
The north London club have been flying high for much of this season but have seen their momentum take a hit recently after being held to a draw by Crystal Palace before consecutive defeats by Liverpool and Leicester City.
The Spurs boss may want to bolster his squad going into the second half of the season and as talk of Barcelona’s interest in Tanguy Ndombele emerges, Sabitzer is reportedly in his thoughts after impressing when Leipzig knocked Spurs out of the Champions League last season.
Here, Sportsmail runs the rule over the Leipzig captain and assesses what he could bring to Tottenham…
Marcel Sabitzer has emerged as a possible January transfer target for Tottenham in midfield
Jose Mourinho is reportedly willing to sanction a £45million bid if he loses Tanguy Ndombele
‘Versatility’ and ‘reliability’ are two words that can be found littered across reports describing Sabitzer but he is far from the workhorse midfielder those terms may lead you to believe.
Sabitzer has been a mainstay in Leipzig’s side since the 2015-16 season, where he was instrumental in helping the franchise-owned club finally secure promotion to the Bundesliga.
Sabitzer has also been an Austria international since 2012 and represented his country at the 2016 European Championships, earning 46 caps so far.
Sabitzer was handed the captain’s armband at Leipzig and he has been central to their success
After filling in as captain last season for the often absent Willi Orban as Leipzig reached the lofty heights of the Champions League semi finals, Sabitzer was handed the armband on a full-time basis this season after a vote among his fellow players.
‘Sabi’, as he’s known by his team-mates, is a popular man in the dressing room and leads by example on the field, with manager Julian Nagelsmann praising the fact he is always consistently ‘stable’ in his performances.
What type of player is he?
The Austria international truly is an all-rounder. He can play in defensive, central and attacking midfield and can even be found playing in the wide positions, with his goalscoring and crossing prowess drawing comparisons with England great David Beckham on the Bundesliga’s official website.
The Leipzig No 7’s killer set-piece technique will do nothing to quell those comparisons, but Sabitzer’s ability to arrive late in the box has shades of Frank Lampard, while his ability to flourish in any position is James Milner’s specialty.
Sabitzer is a genuine midfield all-rounder who seamlessly fits in wherever he is deployed
The all-round midfielder is a key goal contributor and has killer technique from set pieces
His goal contribution since signing for Leipzig in 2014 speaks for itself. He has 46 goals and 38 assists in his 203 appearances for Leipzig, including two in their 4-0 aggregate last-16 defeat of Spurs last season, while he also has eight goals for the Austria national team.
Sabitzer can often be seen unselfishly putting it on a plate for a team-mate but he certainly has en eye for goal himself, whether that be from distance, a powerful burst from midfield or a close-range tap-in, Sabitzer can do them all.
His three goals and one assist this season are relatively modest by his standards, but his standard of performances hasn’t dropped and has led Leipzig to 28 points this season, two behind leaders Bayern.
Do Spurs need him?
The short answer is yes.
Spurs’ lack of creativity has predictably come into question after their 2-1 and 2-0 defeats last week when they were convincingly outdone by Liverpool and Leicester in terms of chances created.
Mourinho’s side were the league’s top scorers not long ago but could struggle if star men Harry Kane and Son Heung-min’s goals dry up.
Sabitzer’s goalscoring prowess would take some of burden off Harry Kane and Son Heung-min
Son’s 13 strikes and Kane’s 10 are impressive, but Spurs’ third-ranked scorer this season is Lucas Moura on four goals, so a goalscorer added to their ranks could take some of the pressure off their leading marksmen.
They also need to prepare for the possibility of Ndombele leaving, with the midfielder reportedly on Barcelona’s radar after his bright start to the season.
With Mourinho still not appearing to trust Dele Alli this season, Sabitzer could be the perfect man to compliment the functional pair of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Moussa Sissoko in midfield.
Can they get him?
Sabitzer’s contract expires in 2022 meaning Leipzig may want to sell sooner rather than later to get the most money possible for him, something which Mourinho recognises, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The reported fee of £45m shouldn’t be problem for the north London club, particularly if they receive a transfer fee for Ndombele should he move on.
It will be a tough task prizing Sabitzer away mid-season but he could be the boost Spurs need
If a Spurs offer does come in, there is no reason to suggest Leipzig will stand in their way. They sanctioned the sale of Timo Werner to Chelsea last season after their £53m valuation was met and could do the same with Sabitzer.
That said, prising him away mid-season will be a tricky task with Leipzig firmly in the title race and still in the Champions League, especially given how influential their captain is on this side.
But every player has his price and Sabitzer could be the shot in the arm Tottenham need midway through the season.
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