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Midfielder named in Champions League Team of the Season after Manchester United dodged £16m transfer

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Manchester United have almost become a ‘graveyard’ for talent since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from Old Trafford in 2013.

So many players have impressed either before or since signing for Manchester United.

Whether it’s the pressure of the price tag, the expectation levels, poor coaching, not putting full effort in after a big move or simply not settling in the Premier League, United have seen so many players flatter to deceive.

Angel Di Maria is a perfect example; a Champions League winner before joining United, a World Cup winner after a dismal and brief spell at Old Trafford.

Andreas Pereira has even highlighted that United players expected to win it all one Di Maria arrived from Real Madrid in 2014.

Casemiro and Raphael Varane are the latest examples, possibly leaving United to think twice about signing anybody from Real ever again.

Gary Neville has referred to United as ‘graveyard’ in the past and there is yet another example of a player shining after leaving United.

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Marcel Sabitzer of Manchester United reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on April 30, ...

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Marcel Sabitzer’s Champions League campaign recognised

Borussia Dortmund had two players with United ties as they lined up for the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Jadon Sancho grabbed most of the headlines given that he will be back at United this summer after being frozen out by Erik ten Hag.

Also in the Dortmund side was midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, who spent the second half of the 2022-23 season on loan at United.

The Austrian hit three goals in 18 games from midfield for United but wasn’t signed permanently as Bayern Munich sold him to rivals Dortmund instead.

Sabitzer has enjoyed a superb campaign with Dortmund, racking up six goals and nine assists in 40 games across all competitions.

A driving force in Dortmund’s run to the Champions League final, Sabitzer has been producing the kind of midfield displays United have been craving.

Sabitzer impressed in the Champions League final too and his European displays have now been recognised.

UEFA have announced their Champions League Team of the Season, which has been picked by UEFA’S Technical Observer panel.

Sabitzer has been given a spot in the midfield, joining Paris Saint-Germain’s Vitinha and Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham.

United chose not to go in with a permanent move for Sabitzer, so to see him in the Champions League Team of the Season just a year later really sums up the idea that 

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Manchester United could have had a Sabitzer bargain

We are about to enter another transfer window with United needing some midfield solutions.

Yes, Kobbie Mainoo’s rise has been incredible to watch but there are issues elsewhere.

Loanee Sofyan Amrabat looks set to return to Fiorentina, Casemiro endured a difficult season and Christian Eriksen may leave for first-team football.

United may need multiple midfield signings without breaking the bank and the deal for Sabitzer now looks enticing.

Dortmund paid just £16million to sign Sabitzer, a price they will now feel was a bargain.

Sabitzer would certainly cost more to sign this summer and United’s loss is certainly Dortmund’s gain, even if he couldn’t get them over the line in the Champions League final.

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