The reservations surrounding Marcel Sabitzer’s transfer to Dortmund:
Of course, a transfer for Marcel Sabitzer didn’t come about without some having their reservations about how good of a move it would be. The player, 29, is joining the club after having not played regularly for two years (what should have been the prime of his career). He is signed to a contract that will see him into his 30s before it expires. Sabitzer’s ability to hit the ground running at Dortmund will be one of the main metrics by which the transfer is measured long term. As an experienced player he will be tasked with performing at a high level, which may prove difficult from the jump after playing such a limited amount of first team football. His ability to prove his utility as the years go by will also have to continue to justify the salary paid to him, even if it was negotiated down by Kehl, as his earnings will still be significant.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not necessarily Sabitzer joining that creates any sort of issue (on the contrary I quite like the player), but rather the fact that it likely signals an end to Dortmund’s search for midfield reinforcements. The issue with this isn’t necessarily Sabitzer himself, but the options the team has brought in alongside him. Felix Nmecha’s signing created a stir for the wrong reasons, and the 30 million euros paid for the young German international’s services after a singular, decent season at Wolfsburg was an example of the club overspending on a player who may or may not have a strong impact in his first season. Amongst Sabitzer, Nmecha, Can, and Özcan, Dortmund haven’t necessarily done the best possible job in filling the holes left by Jude Bellingham, Raphael Guerreiro and Mahmoud Dahoud.
In fact, the transfer might have been seen in a more exciting light overall if Sabitzer was the player coming in to be more of a depth option. Instead, he will likely be thrown into the fray as a starter, with limited minutes over the past two seasons to help ease the burden off of Nmecha while we wait to see what impact he will have.
Overall, these concerns do not negate the fact that Sabitzer has the chance to be a very important player for Borussia Dortmund for quite a few seasons to come. The attitude he has shown since joining has been nothing short of a player ready to get back on track and be an important part of his new side’s endeavors:
"“I come here with the ambition to help the team along, to tackle things, to be a personality. I’ve experienced a lot in my career. I know how to win titles, how to be successful. And that’s just in combination with the team, which is very talented, has very good individual players and works together as a collective.”"
His experience and versatility will certainly give him the ability to impact Dortmund’s game from a number of positions, and his overall drive on and off the ball will add yet another layer of intensity to Dortmund’s game next season should we get the player that left Leipzig to join Bayern in 2021. For now, we’ll just have to be patient and see just how he fits into Edin Terzić’s plans across pre -season, and whether he is ready for the intensity of starting week in week out on the Bundesliga again.